Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Woman in fatal crash was updating Facebook

By Cynthia Dizikes
Tribune reporter
1:47 AM CST, February 15, 2011

The daughter of a Chicago man who was struck and killed by a vehicle last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver Monday alleging that she was updating her Facebook page with her cell phone when the incident occurred.

Raymond Veloz, 70, was driving in the city’s South Chicago neighborhood on Dec. 7, 2010, when he got in a minor accident with another vehicle, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Veloz’s daughter Regina Cabrales.

Veloz stepped out of his vehicle to exchange information with the other driver. But shortly after, Araceli Beas, who was driving southbound on Ewing Avenue, drove her vehicle into Veloz, partially severing his right leg and causing him to bleed to death, Cabrales alleged.

The suit states that Beas’ Facebook page shows that she updated it by mobile phone at 7:54 a.m., the same time that Veloz made an emergency 911 phone call.

Veloz was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, police said at the time.

Police cited the driver of the third vehicle for failure to avoid striking a pedestrian. That driver and the driver with whom Veloz had the accident told officers at the time that their ability to see the road was temporarily impaired by the sun.

Cabrales alleges that Beas negligently operated her vehicle “without keeping a proper and sufficient outlook.”

Beas could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cabrales is asking for an unspecified amount of money.

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