Chicago man charged with DUI after Riverside hit-and-run

RIVERSIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Chicago man suspected of causing a hit-and-run crash in Riverside has been charged all thanks to some watchful drivers.

Christian Perez, 26, told officers he drank alcohol and took drugs before driving early Sunday morning, police said. They also said he had an unlicensed gun.

Riverside police received a call from North Riverside police at about 4:02 a.m. about a man slumped over a wheel on Harlem Avenue near 26th Street, police said.

When Riverside police arrived, the vehicle was gone, but witnesses at the scene told police a car fled at a high rate of speed down Harlem Avenue.

Police then received another update about a hit-and-run crash at Harlem and Ogden avenues, with the vehicle fleeing the scene before being stopped by Forest View police at the Harlem entrance to I-55, police said.

One person was injured in the hit-and-run, but refused treatment., police said. A witness at the scene shared video with police of the car speeding on Harlem Avenue.

Riverside police then went to Harlem Avenue and the Stevenson and took Perez into custody. Once in custody, Perez blew a .095 on the breathalyzer, police said.

Perez has been charged with disobeying a traffic signal, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs (cannabis and Xanax), failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful use of a weapon and other traffic citations. Police said Perez could face additional charges.

The Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said his officers were working a special DUI patrol under the terms of a state grant even though the grant money is not coming as a result of the budget crisis.

Chief Weitzel put out a statement saying "In this particular arrest, my officers were not even supposed to be working the DUI grant according to the State of Illinois. I had ordered my officers to continue to work the IDOT-funded grant even if we did not get reimbursement. I stated that during this holiday weekend that intoxicated motorists would be out and so would Riverside Police. This arrest was just one of five arrests made between midnight and 5:00 a.m. in Riverside related to grant enforcement. I would not allow public safety to be jeopardized because our elected officials in Springfield could not pass a state budget which would have continued to fund our grant. The lack of a state budget is directly impacting local law enforcement and public safety."
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