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Tragedy caused by alcohol

  • Written by Bob Rakow

A Chicago man who killed two nuns when his pickup truck collided into their car at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue had a blood alcohol concentration more that twice the legal limit, the Cook County Medical Examiner has reported.

Edward L. Carthans, 81, of Chicago had a BAC of .179 percent on Oct. 5 when he truck veered into the opposite lanes on 95th Street and slammed into the a car occupied by three Little Company of Mary nuns, the medical examiner’s said Monday.

The legal limit blood alcohol concentration limit is in Illinois is .08 percent.

Tests for the presence of benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine), opiates and carbon monoxide were negative, the medical examiner’s office said.

Sister Jean Stickney, 86, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, 48, died at the scene after the car they were driving was struck by the pick-up truck.

Carthans also was killed in the crash, in which the pickup he was driving veered in to the opposite of lanes of 95th Street, ran a red light and slammed into cars waiting at for the light to change, police said.

Alcohol intoxication is being ruled as a contributing factor to the crash, as well as excessive speed, police said.

The third person in the car, Sister Sharon Ann Walsh, survived the crash.

Twenty-three people were treated at the scene and 11 were taken to area hospital, officials said.

This investigation is now closed, Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Randy Palmer said.

Witnesses told police they initially saw Carthans slumped over the wheel of the pickup truck at 95th Street and Western Avenue and asked if he needed assistance.

Carthans declined help and drove away, police said.

Moments later, Carthans was involved in a four-car accident at 95th Street and Keeler Avenue near Target. None of the drivers in the crash were seriously injured or transported to the hospital, officials said.

Carthans then drove at a high rate of speed toward 95th Street and Cicero Avenue. As he approached the intersection, he crossed into the eastbound lanes, ran the red light and struck cars stopped at a traffic light on eastbound 95th Street, officials said.