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Bail reduced for man accused of  fatal DUI crash in construction zone

Updated: July 1, 2014 10:02PM

Bail has been reduced for a 19-year-old man who was allegedly drunk when he crashed in a construction zone a week and a half ago, killing a worker and injuring several others.

Erick A. Lopez, of the 3700 block of 83rd Place, was charged with three felony counts of reckless homicide in a construction zone, aggravated DUI resulting in death and aggravated DUI resulting in bodily harm after the fatal crash in the 4900 block of South Western Avenue about 4:15 a.m. on June 21.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. reduced bail to $500,000 in court Tuesday. Lopez, who was previously denied bond, was on crutches during his court appearance. His lawyer told the Sun-Times he works at a bread factory and graduated from Bogan Computer Technical High School.

Lopez is accused of speeding through the construction zone, failing to stay in his lane and smashing into several orange construction barriers.

The construction zone was marked and workers were wearing reflective safety vests, according to the arrest report.

Lopez then struck three workers — killing one — and crashed into an asphalt paver, prosecutors said.

Jose Tafoya, 58, a construction worker from Merrillville, Ind., was killed in the crash.

The other two workers injured were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where their conditions were stabilized, according to police records.

Lopez’s passenger, a 20-year-old Chicago woman, was hospitalized with broken teeth and injuries to her arm. She was released shortly after.

Police arrested Lopez at the crash site, where he refused to submit to DUI tests, prosecutors said.

Lopez was also taken to Mount Sinai Hospital after the crash, according to police. He underwent court-ordered blood testing and had a blood alcohol level of .195, prosecutors said.

He did not have a driver’s license or proof of insurance, prosecutors said. Police impounded his Chrysler minivan, a tan 2000 model.

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