Chicago DJ Held on $1 Million Bail for Fatal Lagoon Crash

Chicago man charged in car crash that ended in lagoon

A popular Chicago DJ was swerving in and out of traffic at speeds over 90 mph before he drunkenly crashed his car on Lake Shore Drive near Lincoln Park Zoo on Monday, killing his 37-year-old passenger, authorities said.

Rafael Rodriguez, who had a 2012 DUI conviction from DuPage County, had been stopped for six speeding violations in the last five years, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday. He was convicted in four of those cases, the Sun-Times is reporting. 

Rodriguez was driving on a revoked driver’s license during Monday’s accident that claimed the life of Claudia Beruben, Assistant State’s Attorney Akash Vyas said. 

Rodriguez, 42, didn’t appear for his bond court hearing Wednesday because he remains hospitalized at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a fractured vertebrae and hand injuries, Vyas said. 

Rodriguez was speeding and heading southbound when he lost control of his car onto the west curb in the 2200 block of North Lake Shore Drive, Vyas said. 

The car struck and went through a guardrail and then continued into a grassy knoll, striking a tree, Vyas said. 

The car then slammed into a raised concrete retaining wall to the zoo’s lagoon, causing the car to flip over into the lagoon, Vyas said. 

Rodriguez and Beruben had to be extracted from the car. Authorities noticed Rodriguez smelled like alcohol, Vyas said. 

His blood alcohol level measured at .17 — more twice the state’s legal .08 limit, Vyas said. Beruben was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

Rodriguez’s attorney Vadim Shifrin said the accident was the result of a “missing guardrail and slippery roads.” 

Shifrin said his client, a father of one, is a baseball instructor and a personal trainer. According to published reports, Rodriguez also is a popular area DJ known as “Lego.” 

Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Rodriguez held in lieu of $1 million bail for aggravated DUI.

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