Chicago Officer Killed in Alleged Drunken Driving Crash

CHICAGO --

A reported high-ranking officer in the Cook County Sheriff’s Officer was killed Sunday morning after an alleged drunken driver with gang ties slammed into her car on the West Side, police said.

According to a Harrison Area detective, Minerva Santiago, 58, was driving to church when a male motorist who had been drinking slammed into the Nissan she was driving.

The motorist, who is allegedly a gang member and still hospitalized, is expected to be charged with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide, according to the detective. No charges had been filed as of 3:15 a.m. Monday, the detective said.

The detective said Santiago was a high-ranking officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

"She [Santiago] was well liked in the department," according to the detective.

The collision occurred at 9:53 a.m. Sunday in the 3100 block of South Western Avenue, Fire Media Affairs spokesman Rich Rosado said.

The T-bone crash happened when a Chevy Blazer driving south "drove straight through a red light" and slammed into a Nissan, according to police News Affairs officer JoAnn Taylor.

Santiago, of Palos Heights, was pronounced dead at 10:51 a.m. Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital, a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The 27-year-old male driver of the Chevy was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where he remained in stable condition as of 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Taylor said.

There were three passengers in the Chevy and one passenger in the Nissan, all of who refused medical treatment, Taylor said.

Copyright 2007, Sun-Times News Group

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