DQ crash investigation reports driver was intoxicated, speeding

Close to a year after a man died when his car crashed into Dairy Queen along Homewood’s Ridge Road, the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team released its findings about what happened early in the morning of July 17, 2018.
  Demarques Heard died after
  he crashed his Ford Expedition
  into the side of the Dairy
  Queen building in July 2018.
 
(Chronicle file photo)
 

 

The SMART report reveals that the man who died, 26-year-old Demarques Heard of Hazel Crest, had been drinking at bars with a friend earlier in the night. Testing revealed Heard had a blood alcohol content of 0.25  more than three times the legal limit for driving  at the time of the crash, which demolished half of the small Dairy Queen ice cream stand.
 
Conducted by Officer Agostino Alonzo of the SMART team, the report used in-depth incident reconstruction tools, tests and formulas to determine that Heard’s 2004 Ford Expedition XLT was traveling between 68 to 72 miles per hour when it veered off the road.
 
Alonzo determined that Heard was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Heard was transported to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and later died from the injuries he sustained.
 
A female passenger in the car with Heard sustained serious injuries, but survived the crash. According to the report, she told Homewood police that she and Heard were first drinking alcoholic beverages at one unknown establishment in Lansing. 
 
Around 1:15 a.m., the report indicates they left and went to Bottoms Up Bar & Grill, also in Lansing, where they continued drinking. Bottoms Up is open until 4 a.m. every day.
 
Toxicology reports from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office also showed Heard had cannabis in his system.
 
At some point, Heard’s car is thought to have been spotted by a Thornton police officer, driving through that town in what the officer characterized as a reckless manner, including speeding and maneuvering around lowered railroad gates.
 
Shortly before 3:30 a.m., Heard drove westbound on Ridge Road in Homewood, exceeding the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit by more than double, the report says. 
 
Near Gladville Avenue, investigator Alonzo determined that Heard crossed the double yellow center lines and veered into the eastbound lane. He veered back into the westbound lane, at which point the report says he “lost control and went into a yaw, leaving tire marks on the roadway.”
 
According to the SMART report, the passenger told Homewood police, “We were driving really fast and we went off the road.”
 
Alonzo ran two sled tests, using reconstruction calculations, to determine the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash, based upon its path and acceleration, and drag factors of the roadway.
 

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