Police say a driver was driving drunk and on drugs when she caused a head-on crash in Beach Park that killed a Zion father and critically injured his two stepsons in October.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced charges against Suprina L. Bruce, 51, of the 4200 block of White Pine Lane in Zion.
Bruce was charged with aggravated driving under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug resulting in death, a Class 2 felony, reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony, and aggravated driving under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said that Bruce was driving recklessly under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs when she was involved in an October 8 crash.
The crash, which occurred around 6:45 p.m., occurred on Green Bay Road north of Wadsworth Road in Beach Park.
Covelli said that a 2017 Jeep Patriot, driven by Bruce, was traveling northbound on Green Bay Road.
The Jeep was illegally passing a tow truck towing a semi-tractor and the Jeep drove northbound in the southbound lanes of Green Bay Road.
The Jeep then crashed head-on into a southbound 2014 Kia Soul, driven by Jose Hernandez, 49, of Zion.
Hernandez was transported by ambulance to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where he was later pronounced dead.
Hernandez’s stepsons, Giovanny and Alejandro Rodriguez, who both live in Zion, were passengers in the Kia.
Both of them were unrestrained and suffered critical injuries, Covelli said.
One of the boys was flown by a LifeNet medical helicopter to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
The other was transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
The illegally passing Jeep also collided with a Ford Explorer that was traveling southbound directly behind Hernandez’s Kia.
The driver of the Ford, a 58-year-old Zion woman, and a passenger, a 24-year-old Zion man, both suffered minor injuries and were transported to a hospital.
After the collision, the Jeep rotated and struck the tow truck it was illegally passing. The driver of the tow truck, a 35-year-old Kenosha, Wisconsin man, was uninjured.
Bruce was transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center with minor injuries.
A passenger in the Jeep, a 60-year-old Kenosha, Wisconsin woman, was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.
Members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team conducted an extensive investigation into the crash.
Covelli said the investigation included interviews with vehicle occupants, interviews with witnesses, searching for and reviewing video surveillance, conducting vehicle inspections, reviewing records obtained via subpoena and search warrant, and more.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office recently reviewed the case and approved the charges against Bruce.
A Lake County judge on Tuesday approved an arrest warrant for Bruce and set her bond at $350,000.
Deputies arrested the woman at her residence without incident.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg called the incident a “completely preventable tragedy.”
“A careless person made a terrible decision to drive intoxicated, which ultimately led to the death of one person and long-term injuries of others. I am proud of our crash investigators for their diligent work to hold the at-fault driver responsible for her actions. I hope this is the first step in closure for the victims and families of the victims,” Idleburg said.
Bruce remains held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing Tuesday morning.