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Drunken Driver Kills Man, Drives Off With Body on Rear Window: Prosecutors

By Erica Demarest | October 5, 2015 2:49pm
 Adrian Harris.
Adrian Harris.
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Chicago Police

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A drunken driver who fatally hit a pedestrian on the Eisenhower Expressway early Saturday kept driving with the victim's body on his car's rear window, prosecutors said Monday.

Adrian Harris, 33, was driving in the westbound lanes of the Eisenhower around 3:50 a.m. Saturday, despite losing his license for a past DUI and other violations. He swerved around slowing traffic and slammed into 41-year-old Jess Rodriguez, who was trying to cross the expressway on foot near the Western Avenue exit, Assistant State's Attorney Kim Przekota said during a bond hearing Monday.

Rodriguez's body was thrown over Harris's car and landed on the rear window. Harris stopped briefly on the shoulder but then drove off with the body on his car. An off-duty sheriff's police investigator chased him down, though, and flashed his lights to get Harris to pull over, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez was trying to cross the Eisenhower on foot after getting into a quarrel with his girlfriend while driving.  The woman got out of Rodriguez's car and walked along the left shoulder. Rodriguez then parked on the right shoulder and tried to cross the expressway, prosecutors said.

As several cars slowed down to let Rodriguez pass, Harris zipped around a van and hit Rodriguez head-on, Przekota said.

Harris is currently on parole for driving on a revoked license, court records show. His license was taken away for DUI-related reasons and for driving on a suspended license previously. His prior criminal history includes multiple drug and driving convictions.

A blood draw taken after the crash revealed Harris' blood alcohol content to be .169, which is more than twice the legal limit of .08, prosecutors said.

One of the people who witnessed Saturday's crash works as an investigator with the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department, according to Przekota. That investigator was the one who followed Harris and got him to pull over and exit the expressway, prosecutors said.

The investigator had Harris sit near a guardrail until police arrived, Przekota said. Harris' blood was drawn at Stroger Hospital shortly after the crash, and a DUI kit was collected, she added.

Rodriguez died as a result of his injuries.

Harris, of the 5400 block of West Van Buren Street, was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI causing death.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Monday ordered Harris held in lieu of $400,000 bail.

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