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Man Killed While Drag Racing His Best Friend on Lower Wacker: Prosecutors

By  Kelly Bauer and Erica Demarest | July 20, 2015 11:17am | Updated on July 20, 2015 1:09pm

 Ivan Sanchez, 18, of Edgewater, has been charged in the car accident death of a 20-year-old man.
Ivan Sanchez, 18, of Edgewater, has been charged in the car accident death of a 20-year-old man.
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Courtesy Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — An Edgewater man has been charged with reckless homicide after he was involved in a car accident that killed his best friend of 12 years, according to police.

Ivan Sanchez, 18, of the 1500 block of West Bryn Mawr Avenue, has been charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI, DUI and various traffic offenses, according to a Chicago Police Department news release. The accident occurred at 3:22 a.m. Saturday in the first block of West Lower Wacker Drive, according to police.

Sanchez was drag racing with his best friend, 20-year-old Jose Luzianos, on Lower Wacker when their cars spun out, authorities said. Luzianos was driving a BMW and collided with a Jeep driven by Sanchez, said Officer Ana Pacheco, a Chicago Police spokeswoman. Luzianos' BMW then hit a concrete column, Pacheco said.

He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead, Pacheco said.

Sanchez had a blood-alcohol content of .148 and had marijuana and cocaine in his urine, prosecutors said. Sanchez said he smokes pot daily and was drinking before the car crash, prosecutors said.

Calling the accident "tragic," Judge Peggy Chiampas told Sanchez, "You're lucky you're alive."

On Monday, Chiampas ordered Sanchez held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

If Sanchez posts bond, Chiampas ordered him not to drive and ordered him confined to his home on electronic monitoring. He would be allowed to go to work but might be subject to random drug tests.

"It's tragic for two individuals and two families," said Vincent A. Luisi Jr., an attorney for Sanchez.

Prior to the accident, Sanchez and Luzianos had gone with friends to a "car meet" on Lower Wacker Drive to look at cars and do doughnuts, burnouts and drifts, prosecutors said. Throughout the night, Sanchez and Luzianos drank beer and went with friends back to the car meet so they could see if anything more was happening, prosecutors said.

Seeing nothing happening at the car meet, the friends decided to drive home, prosecutors said. Their friends said they saw Sanchez and Luzianos speed off as they raced down Lower Wacker Drive, moving in and out of lanes and around another car to get ahead of each other, prosecutors said.

Luzianos tried to move between the other car and Sanchez's car, but he fishtailed and clipped Sanchez's car, prosecutors said. Sanchez crashed into a concrete support beam and spun out, and Luzianos' then spun out, crossed the intersection and hit two concrete beams, prosecutors said.

The witnesses said Sanchez was unconscious in his car after the accident, and he and Luzianos were transported to the hospital, prosecutors said. Luzianos died shortly after arriving at the hospital, prosecutors said.

Sanchez said he was speeding while driving right before the crash on Lower Wacker, where the speed limit is 30 mph, prosecutors said.

Drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive is an ongoing problem, with police saying Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and the Chicago Department of Transportation were trying "to combat the street drag racing problem" by putting in speed bumps, among other measures, according to a May 19 DNAinfo article.

Police told area residents they are monitoring the races and once wrote 125 tickets in a night, according to the story.

Last week, markings on Lower Lower Wacker Driver appeared to indicate speed bumps are being installed. Before that, stop signs were installed at Columbus and Lower Lower Wacker drives to curtail the races.

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