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Crime & Courts

Rochelle man charged with DUI in crash that killed NIU student

DeKALB – A student in a master's program at Northern Illinois University was killed and three others people were injured after a head-on collision on Lincoln Highway that police allege was caused by an intoxicated driver.

According to a news release from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, Daniel J. Chavez, 25, of the 900 block of Avenue E, Rochelle, has been charged with violations, including aggravated driving under the influence, in connection with the early morning crash, which killed Sai K. Adluru, 23, of the 900 block of West Ridge Drive, DeKalb.

Sheriff's deputies and NIU police were called about 12:05 a.m. Sunday to the crash, which occurred near the intersection of Lincoln Highway and Nelson Road, just west of the NIU campus. According to the news release, Chavez was headed east on Lincoln Highway in a 2006 Jeep Laredo when his vehicle crossed the center line and collided head-on with a westbound 1998 Toyota Camry driven by Adluru.

Police said Adluru was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. His passenger, Charishma Dudde, 23, of DeKalb, was seriously injured; she would later be flown to Rockford Memorial Hospital, police said.

Orlando Hernandez, 26, of the 3500 block of South 52nd Court, Cicero, was a passenger in Chavez's vehicle; police said he was seriously injured and taken to Northwestern Kishwaukee Hospital. Everyone was wearing seat belts, police said.

Chavez was taken to DeKalb County Jail, where he will be held pending a bond hearing Monday, police said.

Adluru came to NIU in spring 2016 and was a student in the master's program in electrical engineering, according to the NIU Indian Student Association's Facebook page. He also was a member of the association's cricket team and was set to graduate in December.

The student association has set up a GoFundMe page, which aims to help Adluru's family with the expenses of returning his body to his homeland, a funeral and other expenses.

"He was an energetic cricketer representing our university in the Midwestern championships and helping us win games with his brilliance on the field," the narrative on the fundraising page says. "He was a compassionate human being who never thought twice before lending his hand for help. He was a brother everyone wished they had, and he was all that and more."

The fundraising effort had netted more than $38,000 by Monday morning.

Note to readers: This story has been changed from an earlier version. The initial news release from police misidentified the man charged with aggravated driving under the influence in connection with the crash.

 
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