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Suburban Cop Arrested in Deadly Wrong-Way Lake Shore Drive Crash

By  Erica Demarest and Alex Parker  | March 15, 2013 6:10am | Updated on March 15, 2013 5:50pm

LINCOLN PARK — An off-duty suburban police officer has been arrested in connection with the wrong-way crash on Lake Shore Drive Friday morning that killed two people and snarled traffic for hours, a source said.

Terrell Garrett, a North Chicago police officer, was stripped of his police powers and placed on administrative leave after his arrest, according to a statement from North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson.

"We have absolutely no tolerance for officers whose actions fall outside the very laws they are asked to enforce," he said.

No charges have been filed, said Officer Antoinette Ursitti, a police spokeswoman, and an investigation is ongoing. Police suspect alcohol was involved in the crash.

Officer John Mirabelli, a police spokesman, said earlier Friday that the driver, a man in his 30s, was in an SUV and entered the southbound lanes at LaSalle Street, but heading north, at 4 a.m.

He hit a Toyota between Belmont Avenue and Diversey Parkway before smashing into a Jeep, Mirabelli said.

The two men in the Jeep were killed, Mirabelli said. They were identified as Fabian Torres, 27, of the 2800 block of South Avers, and Joaquin Garcia, 25, of the 2200 block of West 18th Place, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

The woman in the Toyota was sent to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Mirabelli said.

The wrong-way driver, who was the only person in his car, suffered a fractured hip and was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Mirabelli said.

Following the crash, traffic was snarled. Motorists got creative — driving over curbs and cutting through grassy parks to flee Lake Shore Drive.

Although the crash happened at 4 a.m., the southbound Lake Shore Drive was closed until shortly after 9 a.m.