A Chicago man charged with driving the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive and causing a fatal crash posted bond and walked out of jail hours after a judge lowered the amount.
Erik Johnson, 23, of the 3500 block of North Janssen, was initially held Sunday on $750,000 bond, but the judge reduced the amount Monday to $500,000.
Johnson is charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence after police say his vehicle collided with a taxi Friday, killing a 26-year-old University of Chicago law student and injuring two other people.
Prosecutors said Sunday that Johnson, who is from New York but came to Chicago in 2008 to pursue a degree in business administration, had a blood-alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit.
Police said Johnson was driving a 2014 Subaru SUV that entered Lake Shore Drive heading the wrong way around 1:50 a.m. Friday near East Randolph Street. He was traveling south in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive when he collided head-on with a taxi that was carrying two passengers, according to authorities.
Laura LaPlante, 26, was taken to Northwestern Hospital along with a 24-year-old male passenger of the taxi. LaPlante was pronounced dead just after 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Johnson and the 38-year-old taxi driver were also injured in the crash and taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County for treatment.
In court Monday, Johnson's attorney said his roommate will take care of him during the time he's out on bond, including driving him anywhere he needs to go, including his job.
Johnson's father attended the court hearing Sunday and apologized, saying he is praying for LaPlante's family.
Officials at the University of Chicago said LaPlante was in her third year of law school.
According to Todd Henderson, a professor of law at UofC, LaPlante was expected to graduate this year.
"Every student we have is smart and accomplished, but she stood out," Henderson said. "She was incredibly generous and kind and big-hearted. She had the ability to argue convincingly for her side without offending the other, which is rare."
Henderson said LaPlante had accepted a position to work for a law firm in Boston after graduation.
"I cannot make sense of the passing of such a wonderful, vital young woman who would surely have done so much in her life to make the world a better place," Dean Michael Schill said in an email to students and faculty. "At the same time, during Laura’s short time on earth she made an impact. Laura left each of us better human beings than we would have been in her absence."
Last week, Terrell Garrett was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he drove drunk the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive and hit and killed Joaquin Garcia and Fabian Torres.
In March 2012, two women and a man were injured in a three-car collision involving an allegedly drunk wrong-way driver on Lake Shore Drive.