Man Charged in Crash That Killed Kids Had Seven Prior Felonies

Joey Chavez ordered held on $550,000 bond in connection with weekend crash that killed a boy, 5, and his 10-month-old sister

Serious questions were raised in court Tuesday as to whether the man charged in a crash that killed two children over the weekend should ever have been behind the wheel.

Joey Chavez, of the 2200 block of St Louis Ave, was charged a day earlier with two felony counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death and two felony counts of aggravated DUI resulting in bodily harm, among other charges, in connection with the crash on the city's southwest side.

During his initial court appearance, a Cook County judge ordered Chavez held on $550,000 bond.

But prosecutors said Chavez has a lengthy criminal history that includes seven felonies dating back to 1992, when he spent four years in prison for a conviction of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

He also has three convictions for possession of a controlled substance, in 1998, 1999 and 2003, and a 2002 conviction for possession of cannabis. A 2009 conviction for retail theft landed him behind bars again.

"He is currently out on bond for a misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicle with the next court date of April 11, 2012," said Assistant State's Attorney Wendy Caceres.

Tests conducted at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County Hospital after the crash that killed 5-year-old Eric Ochoa and his 10-month-old sister, Julissa, found Chavez had opiates and PCP in his system, a police report said

Chavez allegedly got into a fender bender with a vehicle at the intersection of West 45th Street and South Western Avenue, sped off south on Western in his SUV and hit a car with the two youngsters about a half block later.

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