Not guilty plea in fatal Route 53 crash that killed four

  • Lamar C. Graves

    Lamar C. Graves

Updated 4/9/2021 8:01 PM

The 32-year-old driver who authorities say struck a disabled car on the shoulder of Route 53 in Rolling Meadows, killing two sisters and their sons, entered a not guilty plea Friday in a Rolling Meadows courtroom.

Lamar C. Graves, of Bellwood, is charged with four counts of aggravated DUI involving a death. Prosecutors say he had alcohol and marijuana in his system when he struck a Ford Fiesta driven by Stacy S. Harris, 45, of Schaumburg, who was on the phone seeking roadside assistance at the time.


Killed along with Harris were her 17-year-old son Jeremy Johnson, Harris' sister Herlanda L. Harris, and Herlanda Harris' son Jimarion Harris, 6.

According to prosecutors, Graves' Jeep Wrangler was traveling more than 88 mph when it struck Harris' car at 11:33 p.m. Feb. 20. Authorities say the force of the impact propelled both cars across three lanes of traffic.

About 20 minutes before the crash, an off-duty state trooper reported Graves' speeding vehicle traveling east on I-290 near Route 83, weaving through traffic and almost striking a wall and two vehicles, prosecutors said.

The trooper, who estimated the vehicle's speed at 95 mph, gave dispatch a description of the car and the license plate number, according to prosecutors.

Blood drawn during Graves' post-crash treatment for a fractured arm at Amita Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village showed a blood-alcohol level of .123, which is above the legal threshold of .08.

Graves next appears in court on May 20.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.