The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced today, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, that members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team conducted an extensive investigation into the fatal crash, which killed Jose Hernandez, 49, of Zion on October 8, 2022. The investigation included interviews with vehicle occupants, interviews with witnesses, searching for and reviewing video surveillance, vehicle inspections, reviewing records obtained via subpoena and search warrant, and more.
Following the investigation, it was determined the driver of the Jeep Patriot, Suprina L. Bruce, 51, of the 4200 block of White Pine Lane, Zion, was driving recklessly, under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs when she was involved in the crash.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the facts and circumstances of the incident and authorized the following charges for Bruce:
Aggravated Driving Under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and a Drug Resulting in Death (Class 2 Felony)
Reckless Homicide (Class 3 Felony)
Aggravated Driving Under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and a Drug Causing Great Bodily Harm (Class 4 Felony)
On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, a Lake County Judge approved an arrest warrant for Bruce and set bond at $350,000.00. Following the issuance of the arrest warrant, sheriff’s deputies arrested Bruce at her residence without incident.
Bruce remains held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing this morning.
Sheriff John D. Idleburg said, “This was a completely preventable tragedy. A careless person made a terrible decision to drive intoxicated, which ultimately led to the death of one person and long-term injuries of others. I am proud of our crash investigators for their diligent work to hold the at-fault driver responsible for her actions. I hope this is the first step in closure for the victims and families of the victims.”
All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
— Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded about 6:45 p.m. Friday, October 8, 2021, to a report of a serious crash at Green Bay road north of Wadsworth Road in Beach Park — northwest of the Waukegan Regional Airport. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found four vehicles — a Kia Soul, a Jeep Patriot, a Ford Explorer, and a tow truck towing a semi-tractor — were involved.
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies and Beach Park firefighters and paramedics discovered an 11-year-old boy of Zion in the Kia Soul, unrestrained, and a 13-year-old boy of Zion in the Kia, also unrestrained. Both children suffered critical injuries. The 11-year-old was flown via LifeNet medical helicopter to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. The 13-year-old boy was transported via ambulance to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. The driver of the Kia, a 49 year-old man from Zion, was transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital in Waukegan, where he was later pronounced deceased.
The driver of the Jeep was transported via ambulance to Level 1 Advocate Condell Medical Center with minor injuries. A passenger in the Jeep, a 60-year-old woman of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the Ford Explorer, a 58-year-old woman of unincorporated Zion, and a passenger in the Ford Explorer, a 24-year-old man of unincorporated Zion, were transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of a tow truck did not initially report any injuries.
An autopsy for the driver of the Kia has been scheduled by the Lake County Coroner’s Office for Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
Preliminary investigation shows the 2017 Jeep Patriot, driven by a 50-year-old woman of Zion, was traveling northbound on Green Bay Road. The driver of the Jeep was passing a tow truck, which was towing a semi-tractor. The driver of the Jeep was illegally passing the tow truck and was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of traffic.
The Jeep collided head-on with the 2014 Kia Soul, which was being driven southbound by the 49-year-old man of Zion. The impact caused the Jeep Patriot to rotate and strike the tow truck, driven by a 35-year-old man of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Ford Explorer was traveling southbound on Green Bay Road, directly behind the Kia, and the Jeep also collided with the Ford Explorer.
The crash remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Unit. The Speed Limit on Green Bay Road is 45 MPH, according to Google Maps Street View. Green Bay road narrows from four lanes to two lanes near the crash scene.
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