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‘My mom was everything:’ Family grieving after woman killed, man critically injured in suburban crash

OAK LAWN, Ill. — The family of a woman who was killed and a man critically injured in a car crash spoke out Friday and expressed their grief over the tragedy.

Rosio Chacon said her brother and mother were happy and dancing all night long at a family cotillion.

Maria Anita Chacon, 66, was killed in a crash early Sunday morning in Oak Lawn. Her 30-year-old son Tomas is hospitalized in critical condition with a traumatic brain injury.

“I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to tell him the news that they were together, he was driving, they got hit and she’s not here,’” Rosio Chacon said. “And in the condition that he’s in, how is he going to react?”

Steven Bradford and Joann McNary are charged with aggravated DUI involving death and reckless homicide. They had left the Gaslight Bar and Grill on 95th Street, speeding in separate vehicles when, according to police Bradford slammed into the Chacons car and forced the vehicle into oncoming traffic where they were hit by a pick-up truck. 

The family’s attorney Michael Gallagher said their investigators are working to obtain video and learn more about what happened inside the bar and once Bradford and McNary left, before the crash happened two miles away.  

“We want to determine how much they drank, what they were served, what led up to the accident itself, how fast they were driving and whether or not there was any law enforcement involvement in the actual pursuit,” Gallagher said.

Gaslight has not released a comment. The bar recently changed ownership and has been the subject of dozens of incidents and complaints.  This week, the bar’s liquor license was revoked, pending a hearing next week.

“It’s too late,” Rosio Chacon said. “My mom’s not here. My brother’s in the hospital. They’re not going to bring her back.”

Rosio Chacon said her mother was a hard working woman.

“My mom was everything for me and my daughters,” she said. “… she made me the woman I am. .. It’s just unbelievable what happened.”

She said relatives are now leaning on each other with grief and gratitude for everything she did to help her family. 

Rosi Contreras is Maria Anita Chacon’s niece.

“It’s terrible. She didn’t deserve this death,” she said. “No one deserves this death. It’s unbelievable people could act so reckless.” 

The family set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to send Maria Anita Chacon’s body to Mexico for burial and for Tomas’s medical expenses.  They said they’re also planning to have a visitation for Maria Anita Chacon’s in Chicago next weekend.


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