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Man Charged After Deadly Lower Wacker Drag Race Crash

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jul 20, 2015 8:20PM

After months of attempts to crack down on illegal street racing on Lower Wacker Drive, the dangerous practice has taken a life.

Ivan Sanchez, 18, of Edgewater, has been charged with reckless homicide in connection to drag racing on Lower Wacker, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to prosecutors, Sanchez was driving a Jeep when his friend in a BMW "attempted to cut between the Jeep and another car uninvolved in the race." His friend's car clipped the front of the Jeep, both cars spun out, and his friend, identified as Jose Luzianos Jr., 20, of Edgewater, was killed.

Sanchez was ordered held on $150,000 bail Monday afternoon and was forbidden from driving if he is released from jail.

Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas said Sanchez is "lucky to be alive," when he appeared in criminal court.

Sanchez's attorney, Vincent Luisi Jr., told the Tribune, "It's tragic for two individuals and two families."

Police have been trying to crack down on the races for quite some time, with local groups announcing in May that they were working with Alderman Brendan Reilly to put down speed bumps to deter speeding. But the speed bumps still haven't been installed and the races continue.

Coincidentally, last Friday, the Chicago Tribune profiled some of the racers. The scene is similar every weekend, with at least a hundred cars gathered along Lower Wacker Drive, scattering at the first sign of a police car. In the story, Ald. Brendan Reilly warned of the dangers:

"I know this kind of behavior has been glorified by some popular movies like 'Fast and Furious,' but people need to remember those are movies with stunt drivers and controlled sets. This is public infrastructure and driving like a movie star can end up with someone being killed."

The Tribune also produced a video on the drag races: