North Chicago cop charged with two counts of reckless homicide
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN email@example.com March 16, 2013 6:34PM
North Chicago Police Officer Terrell Garrett
Updated: March 17, 2013 2:32PM
CHICAGO — The mother of one of two victims killed in a Lake Shore Drive car wreck said Saturday she was especially distraught over her son’s death because the man allegedly at fault was an off-duty suburban cop.
“I’m angry. ...There’s no way he can get away with this,” Cecilia Garcia said of the North Chicago cop who police say was driving the wrong way when his Chevrolet Trailblazer crashed into a Jeep, killing Garcia’s son, Joaquin Garcia, 25, and his friend Fabian Torres, 27.
The speeding Chevy also careened into a Scion, but the 50-year-old woman driving that car survived.
Terrell Garrett, 35, was charged with two counts of aggravated DUI and two counts of reckless homicide, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
“Justice has to be served,” Cecilia Garcia said.
Garcia said it’s “10 times” worse that a cop was allegedly responsible for the deadly collision. “He’s supposed to be protecting us,” she said standing outside Torres’ apartment, in the 4000 block of West 21st Street.
“My son did not deserve to die this way.”
Garcia and her other relatives had come to Torres’ apartment to pay their respects but no one was home Saturday afternoon.
Garcia flew into Chicago from her home in Florida as soon as soon as her son’s roommate called with the news.
She said her son was a student at Malcolm X College and was studying to be a surgical technician. He was scheduled to graduate in May and had planned to go to the University of Illinois at Chicago to get his bachelor’s degree.
“He had a plan in life,” said Cecilia Garcia, who said she pushed her children into the medical field.
“I just wanted my kids to have a better life.”
The family said Joaquin Garcia loved movies and music and was a hard worker with goals of a successful career.
He had been on the honor roll at school, his mom said, showing the award to a reporter.
“We were suppose to be going to my brothers graduation in a month,” Joaquin Garcia’s sister, also named Cecilia, said.
“Now we’re planning his funeral.”
Joaquin Garcia’s family had never met Torres’ family. But they knew the two men were friends and often hung out.
Joaquin Garcia, the eldest of four, was raised in Elgin and went to Elgin High School, his family said.
Meanwhile, Saturday, Garrett remained at Advocate Illinois Masonic Center in Chicago.
Police said Garrett was drunk when he allegedly traveled north in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive and slammed into the other vehicles at Diversey and Belmont.
He turned 35 on Friday.
Garrett was immediately relieved of his police powers and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Chicago Police Department investigation, North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson said in a written statement.
“While it is important to note that (the officer)] was off-duty at the time of the accident, we have absolutely no tolerance for officers whose actions fall outside the very laws they are asked to enforce,” Jackson said.