A Zion man is in custody after being wanted for speeding while under the influence of drugs and slamming into another vehicle, killing an infant and his mother near Waukegan last year.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Gurnee Fire Department responded on October 29, 2022, to the intersection of Green Bay Road and Atlantic Avenue in unincorporated Waukegan for a report of a vehicle crash.
Deputies arrived and found two vehicles with major damage, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said at the time.
The investigation showed a Dodge Journey, driven by Jarelle D. Brown, 35, of Zion, was traveling northbound on Green Bay Road.
A Toyota Corolla, driven by a then-27-year-old Waukegan man, pulled out onto Green Bay Road from a private parking lot on the east side of the roadway, Covelli said.
A t-bone crash occurred where the Toyota was struck on its driver’s side by the Dodge.
An eight-month-old boy from Waukegan suffered critical injuries. He was restrained in a car seat behind the driver of the Toyota.
Paramedics transported the boy, later identified as Angel Gutierrez, to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was pronounced dead, Covelli said.
A 29-year-old Waukegan woman, identified as Cecilia Gutierrez-Ramos, who was in the front passenger seat of the Toyota, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A then-7-year-old boy from Waukegan, who was seated behind the front passenger in the Toyota, suffered serious injuries. He was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center.
The man driving the Toyota was also transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center with serious injuries.
Brown was transported to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan with serious injuries, Covelli said.
Two passengers in the Dodge, a then-19-year-old Beach Park man and a then-24-year-old Zion man, were transported to Vista Medical Center East with minor injuries.
An investigation conducted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Unit determined that Brown was “driving excessively fast,” Covelli said.
Brown was allegedly driving over 75 miles per hour before crashing with the Toyota.
He was also driving while under the influence of cannabis, Covelli said.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office presented the facts to a grand jury, who indicted Brown on two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of driving under the influence of cannabis.
A judge issued an arrest warrant on March 15 for Brown following the indictment. Covelli previously said in March that Brown had not surrendered despite being made aware of his warrant.
Jail records show Brown was taken into the custody of the Lake County Jail late last month.
Prosecutors filed a petition to detain Brown pending his trial, calling him a threat to the safety of the community.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Dino Katris said during a court hearing last week that Brown overtook another vehicle just prior to the crash occurring.
Data recovered showed Brown’s vehicle was traveling 79 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of impact, Katris said.
Katris said cocaine metabolite was also found in Brown’s system in addition to the cannabis.
Following the crash while Brown was wanted in the double fatal crash, he was arrested in Wisconsin for possessing cocaine.
“This is a 35-year-old man who should have known better,” Lake County Judge James Newman said, referring to Brown’s alleged drug use that contributed to the fatal crash.
Newman granted the state’s attorney’s office’s petition to hold Brown in jail pending trial.