DUI Charge in Crash Killing Marine Vet on I-55

A man from Chicago is alleged to have been driving under the influence when he hit and killed a former Marine who was fixing a tire on I-55 on Sunday. Octavio Lara Chavez, 40, faces charges of aggravated DUI causing death and severe bodily injury during the accident which took place around 6:40 p.m. on the right side of the southbound lanes near Cicero Avenue in Garfield Ridge.

The victim, 28-year-old Nikolas Hutto, was travelling with friends when his Hyundai Sonata hit a pothole, resulting in a flat tire. Hutto and his companions exited their vehicle to replace the front passenger-side tire. At that moment, Lara Chavez, driving a pickup truck, veered onto the shoulder smashing into the vehicle and individuals, instantly killing Hutto.

A 28-year-old male friend sustained a broken leg from the collision and received treatment at Stroger Hospital, as stated in the police report. Lara Chavez was admitted to a hospital due to non-life-threatening injuries. His post-accident blood-alcohol test revealed a level of .162%, that is double the legal limit.

Hutto, a previous resident of Tampa, Florida, moved to Tinley Park in November to live in a house that he had bought with his girlfriend. After completing high school in 2015, Hutto served as a Marine in the Middle East for several months. In 2020, he received an honorable discharge with the rank of sergeant, and three out of his six younger siblings followed their elder brother’s steps by serving in the military.

According to his mother, Tammy Hutto, his five younger siblings revered him. “Nikolas was an admired figure,” she said. “They’d turn to him when they needed to find answers. Nikolas was loved by everyone who knew him.”

A judge ruled on Wednesday for Lara Chavez’s detention while he awaits trial, with his following court appearance scheduled for April 30.

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