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Drunken-driving charges upgraded after victim dies

Updated: April 11, 2013 1:00AM

Drunken-driving charges have been upgraded against a South Side man who allegedly struck a stalled minivan on Lake Shore Drive, now that the van’s driver has died.

Mareo Nutall was driving on a suspended license for another DUI when he struck the rear of Verlinda Perry-Hill minivan’s on March 31, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Rusch said in court Wednesday.

Verlinda Perry-Hill was inside the minivan talking on the phone with her daughter, and coordinating a tow from the scene when the impact of the crash sent her vehicle careening over a curb in the 4500 block of South Lake Shore Drive, authorities said.

Nutall, 32, was originally charged aggravated DUI causing great bodily harm.

But after Perry-Hill, 52, of the South Shore neighborhood, died on April 3, charges were upgraded to aggravated DUI causing a death.

At the time of the crash, an on-duty police officer with the Chicago Police Marine Unit witnessed Nutall driving northbound at a high rate of speed, Rusch said.

When Nutall allegedly slammed into Perry-Hill’s vehicle, the officer activated his lights and called for help.

Nutall got out of the car and officers noticed that he had glassy, blood-shot eyes and slurred speech, according to a Chicago Police report.

He also was “swaying” and “rapidly chewing gum,” the report stated.

Nutell initially denied drinking but then allegedly admitted he had three beers prior to the wreck.

His blood alcohol level registered at .166— more than twice the state’s legal .08 limit, Rusch said.

Three months earlier, Nutall was arrested for a misdemeanor DUI. That case is still pending.

Nutall, who appeared in court Wednesday in a navy blue suit on his most recent DUI, remains out on bond; Judge Donald Panarese kept his bail at $150,000.

Nutall, of the 3500 block of West Arthington Street, regularly attends church and used to work at a law firm, his attorney said.

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