Driver charged with DUI for Arlington Heights crash that took out train crossing

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Driver charged with DUI for Arlington Heights crash
Arlington Heights police have charged Johnny Benitez with DUI for a Sunday morning crash that took out a Union Pacific train crossing.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- A driver has been charged with driving under the influence for a Sunday morning crash that severely damaged a train crossing in Arlington Heights.

Police said just after 7:30 a.m. Sunday, EMTs responded to a crash with someone trapped at Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway, next to the Union Pacific grade train crossing.

Police said an investigation found a 2020 Nissan Juke was driving south on Arlington Heights Road toward the intersection at more than 100 miles per hour just before sideswiping a Toyota Camry that had just started moving at a green light.

The Nissan driver lost control and struck the train crossing signal on the northwest corner of the crossing. All three tracks were closed for several hours after the crash.

The entire crash was caught on video from business surveillance cameras nearby.

Both the drivers were the only people in their car. The Nissan driver, identified as Johnny Benitez of Northfield, had to be extricated and was taken to Lutheran General Hospital for treatment. The driver of the Camry was taken to Northwest Community Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Benitez was released from the hospital and charged with one felony count of aggravated driving under the influence; four misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, driving on a revoked license, and speed; and cited for four traffic offenses.

The train crossing remains under repair, and all oncoming trains have been required to sound their horns when approaching the crossing to warn oncoming drivers. Arlington Heights police did not say when they expect the crossing repairs to be fixed.

Benitez appeared in court and was given $15,000 bond. He is due back in court in late November.