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Avondale Man Smoked Weed, Drank Hennessy Before Fatal Crash: Charges

 Jimmy Payton had a .16 BAC when he ran a red light and caused a fatal crash Saturday, prosecutors said.
Jimmy Payton had a .16 BAC when he ran a red light and caused a fatal crash Saturday, prosecutors said.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The Avondale driver who caused a fatal crash in Garfield Park early Saturday had been drinking Hennessy cognac and smoking marijuana, prosecutors said.

Jimmy Payton, 27, had a blood-alcohol content of .16 after the crash, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said during a bond hearing Monday. That's twice the legal driving limit of .08.

Payton is accused of running a red light at Independence Boulevard and Congress Parkway about 3:20 a.m. Saturday — causing a U.S. Postal Service truck to slam into Payton's Jeep, pinning and killing passenger Sydni Murray, 32.

According to prosecutors, the mail truck had just exited the Eisenhower Expy. and was heading west on Congress through a green light when it struck Payton's Jeep Cherokee.

Payton was driving north on Independence, Santini said, and failed to stop for a red light.

Murray, the front-seat passenger in Payton's Jeep, was pinned in the SUV and pronounced dead on the scene, according to authorities. He died of multiple blunt-force injuries sustained in the crash.

The 55-year-old man who'd been driving the mail truck was rushed in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where he was diagnosed with multiple head injuries, including bleeding in his brain, prosecutors said. Additional information was not available Monday.

Payton, of the 2900 block of North Ridgeway Avenue, was treated for cuts to his head, according to Santini.

After his arrest Saturday, Payton told police he smoked marijuana and drank Hennessy cognac before the crash. He now faces charges of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI causing accidental death.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Monday ordered Payton held in lieu of $275,000 bail.

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