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Driver charged with killing pedestrian was going 80 mph: prosecutors

picture is Sun-Times seller Robert Butler who was fatally hit by an SUV while working Friday.

picture is of Sun-Times seller Robert Butler, who was fatally hit by an SUV while working Friday.

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Updated: October 11, 2012 6:16AM

A newspaper street salesman was fatally hit by a speeding SUV that was racing across the Lower West Side at 50 m.p.h. over the speed limit, prosecutors say.

Robert Butler, 51, of west suburban Bellwood, died after he was struck early Friday morning in the 3100 block of South Damen. Butler was an independent contractor who was selling newspapers that had been purchased in bulk for resale on the street.

Driver Anthony Castillo, 23, was driving his 2007 Jeep Laredo at an estimated 80 m.p.h. in the 30 m.p.h. zone when he hit Butler, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Wendy Cáceres said in court Sunday.

Butler, who’d been selling newspapers at the I-55 on-ramp, screamed, flew up in the air and hit a witness’s car before bouncing back in front of Castillo’s Jeep and being run over, Cáceres said.

Castillo, who allegedly didn’t stop to help Butler, was chased and caught by police who witnessed the accident, the prosecutor added.

Police found cocaine and marijuana in Castillo’s car, she said. Prosecutors are waiting for the results of blood and urine analysis to determine whether Castillo had been drinking or using drugs. They also plan to look for evidence from the Jeep’s black box to determine exactly how fast Castillo was going when he hit Butler around 4:30 a.m., she added.

Castillo, who has a prior conviction for driving on a suspended license and says he works as a clerk at the Chicago Yacht Club, was charged with reckless homicide, possession of a controlled substance, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Judge James Brown on Sunday set his bond at $500,000, ordering him not to drive if he makes bail. A passenger in Castillo’s car at the time of the accident, Isaiah Canales, 23, of the 2200 block of South Wood Street, was charged with possession of marijuana.

Butler’s younger brother Frank Butler said his family was praying that justice is done.

Butler had two sons and two daughters and was “a devoted and generous family man,” who was “always laughing,” his brother said.

A onetime Proviso East running back, Butler was a big football fan who would have been watching the Bears game Sunday if he had not been mowed down Friday, his brother added.

“I’m just praying and trying to forgive,” Frank Butler said. Castillo “probably didn’t mean to kill my brother but I’m just praying to God that he does his time and that my family can find peace.”

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