Unjust fatal crash

A vigil was held on March 18 at 26th Str. and Pulaski Str. in honor of the two young men who were killed in a fatal three vehicle crash on Lake Shore Drive last week. Joaquin Garcia and Fabian Torres were victims of a North Chicago Police Officer Terrell Garrett’s careless action. Garrett’s SUV crashed head on into a Jeep and a Toyota Scion at about 4 a.m. on March 15 in the southbound lanes at Diversey Parkway.

“We have absolutely no tolerance for officers whose actions fall outside the very laws they are asked to enforce,” said North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson. Jackson said that Garrett was off duty at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol content after Friday’s wreck was measured at 0.184, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Garrett was arrested and immediately placed on administrative leave. He is being charged for two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide. He is being held on a 500,000 dollars bail.

The two mothers of the victims were united by a common loss, their sons, and held a candle light vigil protesting against Garrett’s low bond. “They all help each other, its discrimination,” said Torres who believes the case is not being managed properly because Garrett is a North Chicago Police Officer. “It’s two lives this man has taken. He gets to go home, our sons will not come back,” said Torres. “I can’t sleep; I can’t look at the pictures. I have to fight this.”
“He gets to go home to his daughter, we don’t,” said Michelle Vera, Joaquin Garcia’s cousin.

Joaquin Garcia was studying to be a surgical technician at Malcolm X College and was set to graduate in May, according to family members. Torres was a first-year student at DePaul University.

“We were supposed to be going to my brother’s graduation in a month,” said Cecilia Garcia, Joaquin’s sister. “Now, we’re planning his funeral.” “Tomorrow is my birthday. I can’t celebrate I have to bury my son,” said Garcia.

Torres said she never expected so many people to come out and support her and Garcia’s loss. “I only bought 20 candles,” she said. “I don’t have enough.”

Mothers, fathers, babies, and everyone from the community came to show their support and outrage at the vigil. Everyone marched holding their candles and posters. The candlelight vigil ended in front of Cook County Circuit Court.

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