2nd Corvette driver charged with drag-racing that led to woman's death in Chicago Lawn
CHICAGO - Charges have been filed against two Corvette drivers who were drag racing in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood when one of them lost control and struck a woman out for a late dinner with her boyfriend, killing her.
Aaron Guerrero, 27, was charged with reckless homicide. He was also charged with aggravated street racing, as was the other driver, Noe Garcia, 36. Prosecutors said Guerrero was traveling more than 100 mph when he struck Shawman Meireis last August, a day before her 41st birthday.
Meireis had been crossing the street in the 6500 block of South Cicero Avenue near Midway Airport when the two Corvettes came racing toward her around 1:35 a.m. on Aug. 28, according to prosecutors.
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The cars were cutting each other off and weaving through traffic at high speeds, prosecutors said in court Wednesday. As they approached 65th Street, Guerrero collided with a car turning in the intersection and careened into Meireis, according to prosecutors.
Meireis was thrown to the pavement as the crumpled Corvette came to rest near the corner of 65th Street. Witnesses said Meireis went in and out of consciousness until paramedics took her to Christ Medical Center, where she died.
Her boyfriend was seen grabbing Guerrero and throwing him against a street lamp. "You killed my girlfriend," he said. "You killed my girlfriend."
Guerrero told officers at the scene that he had been fleeing a carjacking. But the police report cites witnesses who said the drivers of both Corvettes were racing each other just before the accident.
(left to right) Aaron Guerrero and Noe Garcia (Chicago Police Department)
Garcia slowed as he passed the scene but then continued driving, prosecutors said. He later told police he may have been involved in a race with Guerrero and his cell phone records placed him at the scene, prosecutors said.
Two witnesses told the Sun-Times Guerrero appeared to be "showing off" to the other Corvette driver. One witness said the two Corvettes, one red and the other blue, were both stopped at 63rd Street and sped off when the light turned green, cutting off drivers as they kept up with each other.
Guerrero remained at the scene and was initially cited for obstructed front windshield and failure to exercise due care with a pedestrian in the roadway. But police at the time said the investigation was continuing.
Guerrero’s has been appearing in Traffic Court for those citations, according to his lawyer, who said he warned his client there was a possibility of severe felony charges.
Neither Guerrero or Garcia have any criminal record, but Guerrero does have three previous suspensions for speeding. Both men had valid licenses at the time of the incident.
"This doesn’t happen without both of these vehicles engaging each other," Judge Susana Ortiz said in court Wednesday.
Ortiz ordered Guerrero held on $100,000 bond and Garcia on $30,000 bond.