A Calumet City teen has been charged with DUI in connection with a crash last weekend that killed two people, including a high school football quarterback who was set to graduate Wednesday and a Metra employee who was on his way to work.
David Peden, 18, was charged with DUI causing death and reckless homicide with a motor vehicle after the crash, which killed 18-year-old Aaron Dunigan and 56-year-old Jose Rivera.
Peden, along with Dunigan and another teen from Thornton Fractional High School, were on their way home from prom when their westbound vehicle crossed the center line and struck an eastbound vehicle, driven by Rivera, authorities said.
Rivera, of Calumet City, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 7:33 a.m., the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
A Metra spokesperson said Rivera was a track inspector for the company’s Electric Line and was an employee of the company for more than 34 years. He was on his way to work at the time of the crash, officials said.
“Juan was a very dedicated and valued employee who will be sorely missed by all at Metra who worked with him,” CEO Don Orseno said in a statement.
Dunigan, of the 800 block of 163rd Street in Calumet City, was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:26 a.m., the medical examiner’s office said.
Family members said Dunigan had won an award during his final football season and was getting ready to play college football at Southern Illinois University.
The teen’s mother said she doesn’t blame Peden for her son’s death.
"I want to hold him and let him know that Aaron loves him too," said Katherine Jackson. "It's nobody's fault."
The three teens in the vehicle were scheduled to graduate from TS North Wednesday, District 215 Superintendent Creg Williams said in a statement. Dunigan's mother donned a cap and gown and stood in for her son at the ceremony.
"I'll be his legs and he'll be my wings," she said. "We are going to get our diploma."