Family mourns loved one killed in suspected intoxicated driving crash

Victim's father 'She cut his life, and that's what hurts'

SAN ANTONIO – Mario Velazquez says he does not want to blame the driver accused of causing the crash that killed his son. After all, it won't bring his son back. But still, he says, she hurt him.

"She broke my family," Velazquez said in Spanish. "She cut the wings off of my son. He was only 22. She cut his life, and that's what hurts."

Velazquez's oldest child, Mario Velazquez-Palau, went out Thursday night with friends. But his night out and life ended abruptly around 2 a.m. Friday when a suspected intoxicated driver slammed into his car on the Far West Side.

The sudden loss has his family feeling raw.

"It broke my heart. He was my only brother," said his sister, Valeria Velazquez-Palau.

He was also a good brother, she said, the kind who took his younger sisters shopping. He was also an outgoing guy who always had something funny to say, Valeria Velazquez-Palau said.

"He was just a good person, a good (hearted) person, and he didn't deserve that," she said.

Mario Velazquez-Palau was stopped with four other people in his car, exiting a private drive on the 6500 block of the westbound access road for West Loop 1604 North, according to police, when an SUV jumped the curb and hit the driver's door, sending it into a ditch.

Sergio Velasquz, a manager from a nearby bar, said one of his security guys tried to help Mario Velazquez-Palau, as did EMS, but it was no use.

"They covered him, and I guess that's when we figured out he was gone," he said.

Police said three of Mario Velazquez-Palau's passengers were also seriously injured.

The driver, who has not been publicly named yet, was arrested for intoxication manslaughter and three counts of Intoxication Assault.

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