[dropcap]A[/dropcap] man is accused of fatally hitting two men with his car because he was driving while drunk last Saturday night.
Ramon Cruz, 36, and Pablo Esquivel-Vega, 50, had just finished working their shifts at Carnicerias Jimenez, 4204 W. North Avenue, around 10 p.m. last Saturday. They were planning to hang out that night with friends to who used to work at the grocery store.
“I didn’t hear the accident but when I came in on Sunday my son, who was scheduled to open the store that morning, told me Pablo didn’t come in to work the morning shift,” said Alfredo Jimenez, manager at Carnicerias Jimenez.
Jimenez was shocked to learn from police that a car had hit Esquivel-Vega after they left the grocery store together the night before. While trying to process this news he realized Cruz had not arrived to work the afternoon shift. After making a few phone calls he realized the second victim found with Esquivel-Vega, who the police believed was a homeless man, was probably Cruz.
“I felt horrible when we started to figure out the second person was Ramon,” said Jimenez. “We weren’t sure until his sister called us and asked if we had seen him because she’d been calling his cell and he wasn’t answering.”
Jose Estrada, 36, was driving eastbound in the 4300 block of West North Avenue when he reportedly slammed into Cruz and Esquivel-Vega. One of the victims went over the hood of Estrada’s a 2002 Buick and into his windshield, said Assistant State’s Attorney Alex Molesky.
After allegedly hitting the two men Estrada kept driving until he crashed his car into cars parked in the 4100 block of West North Avenue, said police.
Estrada was taken into custody by police officers that were eating at a nearby restaurant and saw the crash, said eyewitnesses.
The arrest report said Estrada smelled like liquor, had bloodshot eyes and had a blood-alcohol content of .157. Moreover, once in custody prosecutors say Estrada vomited in the back of a squad car.
One of the victims died on the scene and the other was taken to Norwegian American Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries, said police.
Estrada, who lives in the 1200 block of North Kedzie Avenue, was charged with two counts of aggravated DUI, two counts of DUI and failing to reduce speed on Monday.
Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Cieseil ordered Estrada held on $500,000 bail. Because Estrada’s a Mexican native, he must surrender his passport if he makes bail. He’s expected to appear in court again on Feb. 6.
This post is also available in: Spanish