A four-vehicle crash caused by Alvaro Cortez, 30, of Zion (inset) at Green Bay Road and Crescent Avenue in Waukegan left an elderly man critically injured Tuesday afternoon. | Inset: Provided; Background Photo: Joe Shuman/J. Shuman Photography (2023)

An elderly man was flown to the hospital in critical condition after a drunk driver slammed into the rear of his car, causing a four-vehicle crash in Waukegan Tuesday afternoon.

The Waukegan Police Department and Waukegan Fire Department responded around 2:12 p.m. Tuesday to Green Bay Road and Crescent Avenue for a report of a multiple-vehicle crash with injuries.

Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Scott Chastain said a vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, was traveling southbound on Green Bay Road.

A second vehicle, a Honda CR-V, was slowing or stopped at the red light facing southbound on Green Bay Road at Crescent Avenue.

The SUV failed to reduce its speed and crashed into the rear of the Honda, Chastain said.

The Honda was then pushed southbound through the intersection and collided with two other vehicles.

A four-vehicle crash at Green Bay Road and Crescent Avenue in Waukegan left an elderly man critically injured Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: Joe Shuman/J. Shuman Photography (2023)

The SUV came to a rest on the west side of Green Bay Road.

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Officers spoke with the driver of the Honda, a 75-year-old Waukegan man, and found he was initially alert and conscious.

The man reported a back injury and not being able to move his feet, Chastain said.

Paramedics requested a LifeNet medical helicopter to land at the Waukegan Airport.

The 75-year-old man was transported to the airport and transferred to the helicopter, which flew the victim to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The man was determined to have suffered multiple “very serious” and possibly life-threatening injuries, including a broken back.

The driver of the SUV appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and reported no injuries, Chastain said.

The drivers of the two other vehicles were uninjured.

A four-vehicle crash at Green Bay Road and Crescent Avenue in Waukegan left an elderly man critically injured Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: Joe Shuman/J. Shuman Photography (2023)

Traffic officers responded to the scene to investigate the crash and conduct a DUI investigation.

The driver of the SUV, identified as Alvaro Cortez, 30, of Zion, failed sobriety testing.

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Cortez was transported to the Waukegan Police Department where he remained cooperative and provided a breath and urine sample.

His blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.274, which is over three times the legal limit, Chastain said.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and approved charges of aggravated driving under the influence causing great bodily harm, two counts of driving under the influence, driving without insurance, driving with expired registration and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Dino Katris said Cortez admitted to drinking whiskey prior to the crash.

Katris said the victim was listed in critical condition but his current condition is unknown, noting that the charges could be upgraded if the victim dies.

Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Cortez, who has no prior criminal history, held on a $500,000 bond.

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A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 8.