Chicago, IL – A suburban Chicago police officer was charged over the weekend after causing a traffic accident that took the lives of two college students. The officer had alcohol in his blood.
Terrell Garret, 35, slammed his SUV into a Jeep carrying Joaquin Garcia, 25, and Fabian Torres, 27. TheChicago Tribune reports that the accident took place early Friday morning, Garrett’s birthday. According to a local CBS affiliate, the crash closed the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive for several hours during the morning commute. Lake Shore Drive is an expressway that predominantly runs parallel with Lake Michigan through Chicago.
Garret has since been relieved of his police powers and put on administrative leave. Charges were filed on Saturday afternoon.
A judge set the officer’s bail at $500,000 Sunday. The Associated Press reports that Garrett’s blood alcohol content was measured at.184, more than twice the legal limit of.08, and his car was traveling at least 60 mph in the wrong direction on a highway where the speed limit was 45 mph. He was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and a reckless homicide.
Garrett was unable to attend his hearing. He remains hospitalized for a hip injury he sustained during the crash.
Torres was a student at DePaul University, the largest private university in Illinois and one of the largest in the country. He was attending just his first year at the university.
Garcia grew up in Chicago suburbs with his three siblings. He was supposed to graduate from Malcolm X College in the spring and aimed to be a surgical technician. Malcolm X College is part of a network of community colleges serving the Chicago area.
“It’s very frustrating,” Garcia’s sister told the Chicago Tribune. “We were supposed to go to his graduation in a couple of months. Instead we’re planning for his funeral.”
Garcia’s mother asserted that her son’s death was made worse by his killer being a Chicago police officer, someone who was supposed to keep her son safe.