Driver in fatal crash in Jefferson Park charged with DUI

The driver of a Mustang that crashed into a carload of children headed for the Wisconsin Dells, killing a mother and her teenage son and seriously injuring three other children, has been criminally charged with driving under the influence.

Richard Strum, 35, of the 5400 block of North Mobile Avenue, has been charged with three felony counts of aggravated DUI in an accident causing bodily harm and two felony counts of aggravated DUI in an accident causing death, according to a police release.

He earlier was also ticketed with driving on a suspended license, failure to reduce speed and operating a vehicle without insurance, said Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak.

Strum does not have a valid driver's license, according to court records and the secretary of state's office.

A 2000 accident in which he was involved--and ticketed for, among other things, driving without a valid license and without insurance--resulted in a $9,900 judgment against him. Because of his failure to pay the judgment, a hold was placed on his license, according to the secretary of state's office. His license expired in 2003 and was not renewed because of the hold.

But he continued to drive and get tickets. Most recently, he was cited on June 28 by Illinois State Police for driving without a license and was free on $1,500 bail at the time of Tuesday's fatal crash.

Strum was driving south on Austin Avenue in the Jefferson Park neighborhood around 8 a.m. Tuesday when he collided with a Honda Civic going west on Sunnyside, officials said. The force of the collision pushed the Honda against a light pole.

The driver of the Honda, Claudia Delia, 35, and her son Bryan, 16, were killed. Three boys in the back seat of Delia's car were injured: her son Hauk Marvin, 3, suffered a broken leg; her stepson, Zack Marvin, 15, suffered head trauma; and a friend of the boys, Chris Diaz, either 15 or 16, was seriously injured.

Strum was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening, officials said.

Delia was headed to the home of another relative, where they were to leave on a trip to the Wisconsin Dells.

Delia's fiance, Steve Marvin, said she worked as a hairstylist and was about to return to Mario Tricoci hairdressing school for a six-month educator's course, so she could teach others the trade.

"She was the love of my life," Marvin said. "It's not easy going home, knowing that she's not going to be there."

Bryan Delia was about to start his junior year at Taft High School, where he was going to be captain of the hip-hop team. "His favorite thing was to dance," said his brother Giovanny.

Neighbors who rushed out to help the victims said they have long complained about the intersection, to police and to their alderman.

Strum is expected to appear in bond court on Thursday.

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