Erick A. Lopez charged with reckless homicide in South Side crash that killed construction worker

For Chicago Sun-Times

A 19-year-old man was denied bond Sunday after he drove drunk and crashed a van in a construction zone — killing one worker and injuring several others, prosecutors said.

Erick A. Lopez, of the 3700 block of 83rd Place, was charged with three felony counts of reckless homicide in a construction zone, aggravated DUI resulting in death and aggravated DUI resulting in bodily harm, police said.

Lopez allegedly sped through the construction zone at 4911 S. Western Ave., failing to stay in his lane and smashed into several orange construction barriers about 4:15 a.m. Saturday, prosecutors said.

The construction zone was marked, and workers were wearing reflective safety vests, according to an arrest report.

Lopez struck three workers — killing one — and crashed into an asphalt paver, prosecutors said.

Worker Jose Tafoya, 58, from Merrillville, Ind., was killed in the crash, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Two other workers injured were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.

Lopez’s passenger, a 20-year-old Chicago woman, was hospitalized with broken teeth and injuries to her arm, authorities said. She has since been released.

Police arrested Lopez at the crash site, where he refused to submit to DUI tests, prosecutors said.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment and underwent court-ordered blood testing. Lopez had a blood-alcohol level of .231, according to police.

Lopez did not have a driver’s license or proof of insurance, prosecutors said. Police impounded his tan 2000 Chrysler van.

Lopez remained hospitalized Sunday and was not in court for his bond hearing before Cook County Judge James Brown.

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