Cedar Lake man on bail in rape case charged in Lowell fatal crash – Chicago Tribune

A Cedar Lake man on bail in a Porter County rape case was charged Thursday with causing a 3 car accident who killed two people.

Anthony Varela, 27, of the 8700 block of 141st Avenue, told police he was on his way home from court on January 19, 2021, when the accident happened.

He faces two counts of reckless homicide, four counts of criminal recklessness and 10 traffic misdemeanors.

He was arrested on Thursday. Varela told a Lake County magistrate that he plans to hire his own attorney at a hearing on Friday.

His bail was reset to $10,000 cash and remains in custody, according to court records.

Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies were called at 9:50 a.m. to West 153rd Avenue and Grant Street in Lowell.

Investigators believe Varela’s Mitsubishi car blew the stop sign west on West 153rd Street, stopping in front of a Chevrolet truck heading north on Grant Street driven by Roy Larzelere, then turning into the opposite lane, hitting a Ford Fusion almost head-on.

Larzelere, the Fusion’s driver and the man’s mother, Brenda Shelton, were all transported to local hospitals.

Larzelere, 81, of Fair Oaks, and Shelton, 64, of Lowell were later pronounced dead from blunt force trauma. Shelton’s son was “seriously injured” but survived, according to court records.

Varela told investigators he was on the phone with his girlfriend on a hands-free connection. He said he stopped at the stop sign and was driving the speed limit.

This was contradicted by the driver of the Fusion who told police he remembered seeing the Mitsubishi traveling at “an unusually high speed” before crossing the intersection, according to the charges. The man said he remembered nothing after the impact except waking up in hospital.

The man had several debilitating injuries, including bone fragments in his right wrist, lingering glass in his palms, bulging dorsal discs, nerve damage in his left elbow and hip, stitches in his right knee and a traumatic brain injury, according to documents. Walking was a challenge after the crash and he mourned his mother’s death deeply, a relative told police.

Police did not find long tire tracks at the scene, believing Larzelere had only one second to react before being hit, the affidavit states.

Varela was on an ankle monitor in the Porter County rape case, charges allege. He was accused of raping a colleague, then apologize after, records show. He signed a plea agreement submitted on April 27 with a sentencing hearing scheduled in Porter County on June 7.

Larzelere was a 30-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and trucker active with Teamsters Locals 142 and 705, according to his obituary. He was a member of the Journey Church Assembly of God in Lowell and enjoyed landscaping, gardening and cooking, his family wrote.

Shelton was a retired dietary aide who loved playing with her grandchildren, according to her obituary.

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