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Drunken Driver Slams Into Ambulance, Hurts Two Paramedics, Authorities Say

By Erica Demarest | October 1, 2015 4:09pm | Updated on October 1, 2015 5:04pm
 Brian Henry, 26, was charged with aggravated DUI.
Brian Henry, 26, was charged with aggravated DUI.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Two paramedics were hurt when an allegedly drunken driver crashed into their stopped ambulance on the side of I-57 near 119th Street early Monday.

Brian Henry, 26, told police he drank "a couple shots" at a club before getting into a 1995 Chevy Suburban with his wife and one other passenger, according to police.

Henry was headed north on I-57 when he crashed into the ambulance in Morgan Park about 2:30 a.m. Monday, according to an arrest report. The ambulance was stopped with its emergency lights on, prosecutors said, and paramedics were helping a victim from an earlier crash.

When it was struck, the ambulance spun around and clipped two paramedics and one of the victims, who'd been standing outside, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said during a bond hearing Wednesday.

When state troopers arrived on the scene, they found Henry's Suburban in the far left lane with "heavy front-end damage," the arrest report said.

Henry's wife, 31, who had been sitting in the front passenger seat, had broken ribs, a broken left femur and a collapsed lung, according to prosecutors. Police said she was rushed to the hospital in serious condition.

A 25-year-old man in the back of the Suburban had "a brain bleed" and was listed in critical condition, police said.

Henry suffered a broken leg, according to prosecutors. State police said he smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and spoke with slurred speech, but officers on the scene didn't conduct sobriety tests due to his injuries.

Henry later refused to provide blood and urine samples, the arrest report said, but a standard blood draw at the hospital revealed his BAC to be .083 an hour after the crash. The legal limit is .08.

Henry told police he'd been at a club, where "I did have a couple shots," court records show.

The two paramedics, a 23-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, had minor injuries, police said. The man they'd been tending to suffered a gash to his forehead that required stitches, Antonietti said. She noted that the gash was not caused by the original crash, but rather the drunken driver crash. There had been no serious injuries, but one of the passengers was a paraplegic who needed medical assistance, she said.

Henry, of the 6200 block of South Eberhart Avenue, was charged with DUI and aggravated DUI causing an accident and bodily harm. He was also cited for driving without insurance, speeding, failing to reduce speed or move over for an emergency vehicle and "improper traffic lane usage."

Cook County Judge James Brown on Wednesday ordered Henry held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Henry's public defender said Henry had four children and no prior criminal background.

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