Off-duty Chicago police officer arrested on suspicion of DUI after deadly crash into South Side restaurant

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An off-duty Chicago police officer has been arrested on suspicion of DUI after police said he slammed into a late-night restaurant on the South Side, killing a 34-year-old mother of two and injuring another woman.

Police have not released the name of the officer, who remains in custody. Police said Monday morning that the officer has not yet been charged.

The 24-year-old Chicago police officer was off-duty when he told first responders early Sunday morning that he swerved to avoid an accident as a car allegedly cut him off. Police said his Toyota Corolla jumped a curb and plowed into Tony's Philly Steak in the 1700-block of West 87th Street in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

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Marquita Reed, 34, was inside the restaurant eating with friends at a table. She was pinned under the car and killed.

"He said it felt like a bomb," said Akram Esily, son of the restaurant's owner. "Then he looked over and saw the car."

A 35-year-old woman standing inside suffered a leg injury. She was transported to Christ Medical Center in stable condition.

Reed had recently gotten her nursing degree and was working as a nurse.

"She was a very loving person. Everybody loved her. She was a beautiful person," said Conai Jeffref, friend.

"I've known Marquita since she was about three years old," said Iona Bell, friend. "We were neighbors up until last year. She was a wonderful person."

Jerrell Desmond witnessed the crash.

"I don't even think he had time to hit the brakes," Desmond said of the officer.

The other vehicle involved in the incident continued driving, police said, and its whereabouts are currently unknown. Police said the officer was driving under the influence.

"The officer will be treated like anyone else. I expect officers to live to a higher standard and when they don't they will be held accountable," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Superintendent Johnson said the officer's blood alcohol content was 0.083, which is just over the legal limit of 0.08.

The officer, who has a neck injury, is expected to be okay. Police said he has three years on the force and is assigned to the 3rd Police District in Grand Crossing.

Police said the officer was on his regular day off, in his personal car and driving under the influence.

The restaurant was badly damaged. It could take weeks for it to reopen.
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