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Guilty plea in fatal West Chicago DUI crash
By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald Staff

Luis M. Alvarez


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Published: 7/30/2008 5:04 PM

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A motorist admitted Wednesday he was under the influence of alcohol last summer when he fled after a fatal crash in West Chicago.

Luis M. Alvarez, 25, faces either probation or three to 14 years in prison for aggravated DUI. DuPage Circuit Judge Perry Thompson will sentence him Sept. 10.

Prosecutor Michael Pawl said Alvarez fled last Sept. 22 after his red 2000 Pontiac Montana struck the rear of a motorcycle near the intersection of Route 59 and Stimmel Street in West Chicago.

Rescuers found the motorcycle's driver, William F. Rezac, 55, of Warrenville and his female passenger, 51-year-old Debra Atkinson, of Lisle with severe injuries. Both were rushed to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

A doctor pronounced Atkinson dead shortly later. Rezac was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he initially was listed in critical condition, but survived the crash.

Back at the crash scene, witnesses told police the driver of the car fled south on Route 59. Minutes later, police officers found the Pontiac Montana abandoned about a half-mile away at Forest and Easton avenues. The car had extensive front-end damage, consistent with a traffic crash.

Pawl said police tracked down Alvarez in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was staying with family and friends. He has remained in the DuPage County jail since his arrest last summer.

Two witnesses who were with Alvarez during the crash told police he had been drinking and was falling asleep while behind the wheel. He was estimated to be traveling 78 mph at the time of the crash, officials said.

Authorities said there is an immigration hold on Alvarez, formerly of Montgomery, and he likely will face deportation once his sentence is completed.

Rezac survived extensive physical injuries. He, too, was charged with DUI and is due in court Aug. 11.