2 killed in wrong-way LSD crash, victim`s family speaks out - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

2 killed in wrong-way LSD crash, victim`s family speaks out

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Victim Joaquin Garcia, 25 Victim Joaquin Garcia, 25
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Police say an off-duty police officer driving an SUV northbound in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive crashed into two vehicles near Belmont, killing two people and trying up traffic on the North Side for hours.

The crash happened about 4 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive between Diversey Parkway and Belmont Avenue.

Off-duty North Chicago Officer Terrell Garrett was driving a silver Chevrolet SUV and got on the drive at LaSalle, which means he would have passed at least one exit, at Fullerton, before crashing into two other vehicles.

As he was driving north in the southbound lanes, other drivers flashed their lights to alert him he was heading in the wrong direction, and some of those drivers had to swerve out of his way, Mirabelli said.

Near Belmont Avenue, Garrett's SUV collided with two vehicles — a black Jeep and a Toyota or Scion SUV, Mirabelli said. There were two men--Fabian Torres, 27 and Joaquin Garcia, 25--in the Jeep, both of whom were killed in the crash. Garcia was a passenger in the car, driven by his classmate, Fabian Torres.

Garcia was born and raised in Elgin and just celebrated his 25th birthday on February 25.  In an exclusive interview with FOX 32 News, Garcia's mother, Cecelia, says that she's mad at the person who triggered this deadly accident.

She calls her son "loveable" and wants him to be remembered as an ambitious person who was achieving his goal of graduating from Malcom X college this May. It was a dream abruptly cut short by an accident, she says, that could have been prevented.

"Furious that he was, I guess, drinking and driving," Cecelia says. "And a police officer on top of that? I'm furious. It shouldn't happen at all."

"I can't even express myself right now," Cecelia goes on to say. "I was notified by nobody that my son went through this…passed away. I had to hear from one of his friends."

"He was just a wonderful person," Garcia's uncle Andres Laboy says of his nephew. "Loved everybody. Did so much for the family. Moved to Chicago to go to school. He was set to graduation next month from Malcom X."

Terrell Garrett was arrested for his potential role in the fatal accident and immediately relieved of his police powers, according to a statement from North Chicago Chief of Police James Jackson.

The female driver of the other vehicle was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was excepted to be treated and released, Mirabelli said. She was the only occupant of that vehicle.

Garrett, who suffered a fractured hip, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where as of early Friday afternoon his condition was stable, Mirabelli said.

Witnesses told police the driver may have been traveling at least 60 mph on Lake Shore Drive, which is a 45 mph area, before crashing into two other vehicles between Diversey and Belmont.

"Alcohol may have played a factor,'' said police spokesman John Mirabelli. "We are investigating" what role, if any, alcohol played, he said.

By 6 a.m. traffic was backed up for miles as investigators moved between the wrecks of metal and shattered plastic. The traffic delays lasted about five hours.

Lake Shore Drive traffic was diverted at Irving Park Road, then being let back onto the drive at Fullerton.

The CTA No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and No. 147 Outer Drive Express southbound buses were rerouted Friday morning as a result, according to the CTA.

The closure and traffic backup lasted through the morning rush led to traffic congestion on other streets around the site of the crash. Police reopened Lake Shore Drive to traffic around the site of the crash about 9 a.m.

The police Major Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the crash.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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