CITY HALL — Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who has been trying for years to stop late-night drag racing on the often desolate streets under Downtown, plans to step up his crackdown in the wake of a drag racer's death over the weekend.
A 20-year-old crashed his car and died early Saturday on Lower Wacker Drive during what prosecutors said was a drunken drag race against his friend.
On Monday night, Reilly announced he'll submit new ordinances to the City Council next week intended to curb reckless driving on Lower Wacker and the level underneath that, know as Lower Lower Wacker.
CDOT spokesman Michael Claffey confirmed the speed bumps and barricades were largely going on Lower Lower Wacker, with work having started on Tuesday.
Dave Matthews says the city has considered speed bumps for months:
The measures would impose a "No Cruising Zone" in the area, as well as a "No Parking/No Standing/No Stopping Tow Zone" on Lower Lower Wacker between Stetson Avenue and Field Boulevard.
Recently renovated, and running along the Chicago River below what's considered street level Downtown, Lower Wacker and Lower Lower Wacker have proved to be a lure to inner-city drag racers. Lower Wacker was also used at length for chase scenes in the "Dark Knight" Batman films shot in Chicago.
Reilly sought remedies from the Police Department and the Department of Transportation in May. He said Monday that he received recommendations suggesting barricades, speed bumps and safe-driving signs be installed, and that he was devoting aldermanic funds to the effort, with the Department of Transportation expected to begin installation this week.
According to Reilly, he pressed police to conduct "a comprehensive overnight mission" in the area last weekend to discourage drag racing. Yet just 20 minutes after the police mission ended Saturday morning, Jose Luvianos Jr., 20, died in a collision in a drag race with his friend Ivan Sanchez, 18, prosecutors said.
Sanchez, who also crashed but survived with minor injuries, was charged with one count of reckless homicide, one count of aggravated driving under the influence, four misdemeanor counts of DUI and several traffic citations. His bail was set at $150,000.
"I extend my sympathies to Jose Luvianos' family and loved ones for their loss," Reilly said. "It was a senseless tragedy that could have and should have been avoided. And to those who still think drag racing is a crime without consequences, I'd encourage them to again review the details of this horrific incident and understand the profound impact this drag-racing tragedy is now having on the Luvianos and Sanchez families."
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