Police: Ambulance driver caused Uptown crash while drunk - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Police: Ambulance driver caused Uptown crash while drunk

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A suburban ambulance driver was ordered held on a $300,000 bond Wednesday after his blood alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit after a crash Monday in Uptown that left another driver with a serious concussion.

John P. Lara, 31, of Lockport, is charged with aggravated DUI causing great bodily harm, according to police. In court Wednesday, he was ordered held on $300,000.

Lara's blood alcohol content was measured at .271—the legal limit is .08—after the crash about 10:45 a.m. Monday at Clark and Montrose, police said.

In court, Cook County prosecutors said Lara told police he had been drinking mixed drinks the day before the accident. He also said he was on his way to pick up his partner and a patient at a hospital, Asst. State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

While en route, Lara called his partner, who told police Lara seemed to be slurring his words, Scaduto said. Police said he initially told them he was from La Grange.

Lara was southbound on Clark with the ambulance lights flashing and siren blaring when he ran a red light and struck a 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup which was westbound on Montrose, police said.

The 43-year-old driver of the pickup suffered "the most serious of concussions" and memory loss that could be permanent, Scaduto said.

Lara suffered an injury to his back, police said. Both were taken in "stable" condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

It was not Lara's first run-in with the law, according to Scaduto.

In 2005, he had two felony convictions for impersonating a police officer, and in 2004 he was convicted of forgery. He was also arrested in Louisiana for DWI and impersonating an officer, she said.

In the Uptown crash, he was also cited for disobeying a red light, failure to reduce speed and failure to carry a driver's license, according to police.

The ambulance is owned by Care 1 Ambulance of Arlington Heights.

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