Saturday, July 20, 2019

Cops: Drunk driver's blood-alcohol level was 3x legal limit when he slammed head-on into Boystown drag performer's car

Jherrion Bates, seen as Gigi Mayonaé, and his car. | Facebook
A Bridgeport man’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit when he swerved into oncoming traffic and slammed head-on into a northbound vehicle along Boystown’s Halsted Street bar strip early Thursday, according to court records. Felony charges have been filed.

The driver of the other vehicle, a popular drag performer, underwent surgery Saturday morning to repair a broken pelvis, according to social media posts.

Gerrik Birt, 29, was charged Friday with felony DUI causing an accident with bodily harm, two counts of misdemeanor DUI and traffic violations, including failure to have insurance. Bail information was not immediately available.

A blood sample taken from Birt about two hours after the crash showed a preliminary blood-alcohol content of .253, according to his CPD arrest report. Police said Birt consented to the blood test as well as a urine test while awaiting treatment at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Officers on patrol near Roscoe and Halsted heard a loud noise and then saw smoke coming from two vehicles after the collision at 2:15 a.m. in the 3500 block of North Halsted Street.
Police said Birt was driving southbound at a high rate of speed when he swerved into the opposite lane and collided head-on with a vehicle being driven northbound by Jherrion Bates of Danville. Bates, 25, frequently works as a drag performer in Boystown clubs under the name Gigi Mayonaé.

“I’m not okay, but I’m here,” Bates told friends on Facebook later Thursday morning. Bates said he was driving to Charlie’s, a nearby nightclub, when he was struck by a drunk driver.

“My pelvic bone is broken and I’ll be out for a while but GiGi Mayonaé will return,” he declared.

Police said an officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol when they found Birt sitting behind the wheel of his vehicle, which had caught fire. A cop helped him from the car because he was unable to follow directions, police said.

At Masonic, Birt allegedly told officers that he didn’t remember much of the drive, but he said he had been traveling from Rogers Park to his home after consuming three ounces of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Police also said in their report that Birt later told them he had been drinking Miller beer and only remembered that he drove from a parking space. He did not recall having or telling police that he consumed Jack Daniel’s, the officers wrote.

Birt and Bates were stabilized, but both were admitted for treatment.

Bates underwent surgery on Saturday morning, according to his Facebook page.

Friday night, he asked his followers to bring him a back scratcher: “My legs itch like crazy!”

Asked what time visiting hours ended, Bates joked, “I think 10, but I’ve already let them know most of my friends are drag queens and it would be late!”

An earlier case, then tragedy

Court records show that Birt was charged in 2014 with possessing more than a half-pound of pot, driving without insurance, and running a stop sign at 3400 North Sheffield, just a few blocks from Thursday’s crash scene.

He would eventually plead guilty and receive 18-months probation.

Also charged in that case was his passenger and close friend, Mikal Johnson. Johnson would be murdered less than a year later in Logan Square.
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