CHICAGO — Eight days after a crash involving a stolen car claimed the life of a 6-month-old boy, community activists are demanding action and accountability after the two teens accused of being involved were only charged with misdemeanors.
Andrew Holmes not only called on State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office for answers but questioned why the crash occurred.
“You took that baby’s life. You took the breath out of that baby. For what? All because you wanted to joyride and steal somebody’s car,” Holmes said.
Also injured in the crash that claimed the life of 6-month-old Cristian Uvida were the infant’s two older sisters and mother.
“She has to close a casket. You all opened up a door, got in that door, and took off,” Holmes said.
Police said the crash happened around 5 p.m. Sunday, April 16, in the 4400 block of West Washington. A stolen Hyundai was traveling westbound on Washington when it struck a pickup truck.
“Six months,” Holmes said. “That baby could have been doing what we’re doing to help children.”
Family member Annelisse Rivera told WGN News that Cristian was the light of their lives and a baby who loved to sing and dance, adding that she will cherish him forever.
“I don’t know how much the price of the car was, but I’m sure it wasn’t equivalent to the life of a child,” Rivera said.
Witnesses say four people were inside the stolen car at the time of the crash. Days after the crash, Chicago police said two male juveniles, ages 17 and 14, each face one misdemeanor count of criminal trespassing, though charges could be upgraded pending the department’s investigation.
Holmes called the charges a “slap on the wrist.”
“I think law enforcement and the State’s Attorney’s Office wants to make sure they get this right. Obviously, the family, this is a horrific tragedy. The family and the public want to get closure and want to get answers now, but you want to make sure it’s done right,” said attorney Joe Roddy.
WGN spoke with Roddy about cases of this nature and possible next steps.
“You certainly have to let the law enforcement investigation play out, and it has been a bit of time here,” Roddy said. “This is a very serious matter. You have a 6-month-old whose life was taken and others that were injured.”
Roddy, who is not involved in this case, said certain questions need to be asked of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office as well as law enforcement investigating the case.
“You look at the highest charge here, with that being reckless homicide, and what is the sort of evidence that might support that?”
Roddy said factors would need to be looked at to determine whether it was a reckless act that resulted in the death of an infant by car.
“You would also need to look at another question, why are they only being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicle and not possession of a stolen vehicle, and again, you would look at similar circumstances; were they driving, these two individuals that were in the car,” said Roddy, “We’d want to know the car looked like inside.”
Roddy said those involved would want to make sure the investigation is done correctly and appropriately, to ensure anyone responsible is held accountable.
“I think one concern is if you charge them with a misdemeanor and they resolve that case so that case is closed either through some type a plea or resolution, you then run into a problem that you can’t charge them again with a higher-class case involving the same circumstances because of the double jeopardy clause,” Roddy explained.
There are still unanswered questions, including whether either teen charged was behind the wheel at the time of the deadly crash.
“Tough questions should be asked of law enforcement as to what’s taking so long, where it’s going. You have a family that is dealing with this loss. You have the video, which is tragic, of a car going through an intersection,” said Roddy. “There’s a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered quickly, and hopefully, judiciously.”