Little Village

Teen Charged with Murder After Stolen Car Crashes, Killing Woman on Her Way to Work

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A 17-year-old has been charged with murder after he allegedly fled from police in a stolen car, reaching speeds of 90 mph before slamming into another car and killing a woman on her way to work.

Juan Vasquez ran from the car after the crash early Thursday in the 3100 block of South Kedzie Avenue but was arrested after a brief foot chase, according to police.

He still had the keys to a black Honda that was stolen about six hours earlier as the owner, a 65-year-old woman, was getting a cellphone from it, according to a police report.

Vasquez was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated fleeing of police. He was denied bond during a hearing Friday.

Officials declined to provide details of the chase that led to the crash. A police report said officers attempted to stop the stolen Honda and it sped off, sparking a “vehicle pursuit lasting approximately 11 miles,” with Vasquez blowing a red light at 31st and Kedzie streets and striking a car driven by Dominga Flores, 55.

Flores was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Vasquez was taken to Stroger Hospital with minor injuries, according to the police report. Three other people in the Honda were taken by police to Stroger.

All four were released into police custody. Police said they recovered two guns from the Honda.

It was unclear if officers had broken off the chase before the crash, but they arrived in time to chase down Vasquez and take him into custody, according to the police report. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A man who identified himself at Juan Vazquez’s father, but didn’t give his name, said “it was an accident, that’s all” and declined further comment.

The Honda had been stolen around 6:55 p.m. Wednesday in the 3400 block of South Claremont Avenue about two miles away, according to police.

The owner of the car had gone outside to retrieve a cellphone when a stolen white pickup truck pulled up and someone got out and demanded the keys to the car, police said.

The woman refused and the robber “told the victim he would kill her if she did not give the keys,” according to an arrest report. He then grabbed the keys from her and sped off along with the stolen truck.

The truck was later set on fire in the 3400 block of South Leavitt Street, police said. Responding officers spotted the Honda in the area and began chasing it, according to the police report.

The chase lasted about nine minutes and reached speeds of 90 mph as the Honda ran through red lights, according to the report. Flores was headed north on Kedzie, on her way to work, when the Honda struck the driver’s side of her car.

Flores’ daughter said her mom was about a block from work. She worked nights most of her life so she could see her children in the morning, her daughter said.

“She was a wonderful mother,” said her daughter, who asked not to be named. “It’s not fair. We loved her very much.”

A friend of the family, who didn’t want to be named, said Flores “was a hard-working person, humble. Didn’t want problems with anybody.”

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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