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Suburban Chicago officer charged in fatal crash

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – A judge set bail at $500,000 on Sunday for a suburban Chicago police officer accused of causing a traffic accident that killed two people in a wrong-way collision on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.

During the hearing, prosecutors said Terrell Garrett's blood alcohol content after Friday's wreck was measured at 0.184, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. The North Chicago police officer is charged with two counts each of reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol.

Garrett, 35, was in serious condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and didn't attend the hearing.

Witnesses said Garrett's car was driving at least 60 mph as it sped in the wrong direction on the scenic highway, where the speed limit is 45 mph, according to prosecutors. The collision totaled both vehicles and killed 25-year-old Joaquin Garcia and his friend Fabian Torres, 27.

Relatives of the men said they couldn't believe the judge granted bond for Garrett, who wasn't on duty at the time of the crash.

"I believe he should be in jail," Julian Garcia, Joaquin Garcia's uncle, told the Chicago-Sun Times.

Garcia's mother, Cecilia Garcia, told the newspaper that learning that the man suspected of causing a crash that killed her son makes things "10 times worse" for her.

"He's supposed to be protecting us," she told the paper.

Joaquin Garcia was studying to be a surgical technician at Malcolm X College in Chicago 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 his sister, who is also named Cecilia. "Now, we're planning his funeral."

Garrett, who has been relieved of his police powers, has been placed on administrative leave from his job in North Chicago.

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