NORTH LAWNDALE — An argument between a pregnant teen and her 21-year-old boyfriend led to his tragic death Tuesday when she accidentally ran over him with her car, sources said.
Michael Santiago, of South Lawndale, died after his head was crushed by the wheels of a Volkswagen Passat driven by his girlfriend, Arley Torres, 19, in the 1900 block of South Avers Street at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
The two were arguing on the way to Lawndale Christian Health Center, where the pregnant Torres had a doctor's appointment. When Torres pulled over on Avers, Santiago got out of the car. That's when she locked the door and drove away, sources said.
Santiago ran to the driver's side door and tried to get back into the car, pulling on the door handle hard enough to break it. When Torres accelerated in a "short burst" to get away, Santiago slipped, fell and was run over by the car's back wheels, sources said.
Torres pulled over and tried to help Santiago, who was bleeding badly from the head. She called 911.
A resident who lives on the block said she saw a man and a woman from the health clinic try to help Santiago.
"I saw them run up, and the woman put a towel underneath his head," the resident said. "I was just scared when I saw all that blood."
Paramedics arrived, and Santiago, of the 2700 block of South Komensky Avenue in South Lawndale, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead there at 1:43 p.m.
Police believe the death was an accident, but continue to investigate. Detectives are looking for video of the incident. Torres, who was cited for driving too fast for conditions, submitted to drug and alcohol tests. The results are pending. Torres did not return calls seeking comment.
Santiago's mother, Rosa Santiago, said police told them the two had been arguing.
"They fight a lot but they claim to love each other," his mother said
Rosa Santiago said she got a frantic voicemail from Torres after the crash, letting her know something horrible had happened.
The couple had been dating for seven months. They met at a Menards where they both worked, according to his family. Torres told investigators her current pregnancy was planned, sources said.
Michael Santiago, who friends knew as "Michelangelo" and "Boomer," had recently gotten out of the Air Force, his mother said.
He was hoping to become a jack-of-all-trades craftsman like his father, who died in April, Rosa Santiago said. He loved dancing and all kinds of music, mainly rap, but also Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and the Beastie Boys.
"He was loud, very friendly and very funny," his mother said.
He is also survived by three brothers and two sisters, who gathered Wednesday in his mom's living room, surrounded by his trophies and a photo of him in the Air Force.
His sister, Samantha Santiago, said she and her brother were preparing for her wedding next month.
"He was going to walk me down the aisle," she said. "We're feeling so empty."
Quinn Ford contributed to this report.