A Northwest Side man was convicted of murder today for chasing after a car because he was angry at his ex-girlfriend and ramming it off the road in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, killing two passengers.
The Cook County jury
deliberated about 2 ½ hours before finding Joshua Enriquez, 28, guilty of two
counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery in the May 3,
2009, crash that killed Gabriela Almanza, 22, and her friend Nichole Mijares,
Prosecutors accused Enriquez
of speeding after and deliberately ramming the victims’ Pontiac Grand Am after
spotting them at a nearby gas station. His ex-girlfriend, Karina Paredes, was in
the back seat of the Pontiac.
The other surviving
victim, Maria Ortega, testified earlier this week that she was driving down
Kedzie Avenue when she saw the lights from Enriquez’s truck suddenly glow
brightly behind them as he accelerated and rammed their car. She said he bashed
repeatedly into the rear of the Pontiac until smoke billowed and the car started
to rattle and wheeze.
Panicked, Ortega tried to make a hard left turn
into a driveway in Humboldt Park near Augusta Boulevard, but she lost control
and the car slammed into a tree.
“The next thing I remember is waking up
in the hospital,” Ortega, 24, testified Tuesday, crying and pausing to wipe her
eyes with a tissue. Ortega needed more than 50 stitches to close gashes on her
face and eye and also had surgery on her foot.