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Popular Chicago drag performer dies recovering from injuries in car crash

Photo credit:
GiGi Mayonaé - Facebook

The Chicago Boystown area is reeling after the unexpected death of popular drag performer Jherrion Bates, 25, who died in the hospital after being a victim of a crash when another car hit him head-on last Thursday morning. 

Bates, who performed under the name GiGi Mayonaé, was hospitalized and underwent surgery for a broken pelvis at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Saturday. He took to social media to update his followers on Sunday "Hello everybody. I’m awake. Not in so much pain. I’m mad I’m missing Sunday funday."

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner Bates passed away that same day. They are still determining the cause of death.

Police have identified Gerrick Birt, 29, as the driver who hit Bates. They say Birt was three times over the blood alcohol limit. According to police, Birt swerved into a northbound lane and struck Bates head-on at about 2 am Thursday morning.

Witnesses say Brit was traveling at "highway speed."

Bates was on his way to perform at Charlie's a local club when he was struck. 

The suspect was charged with a felony DUI, two counts of misdemeanor DUI. He also had traffic violations and no insurance. He made bail on Saturday according to CWB Chicago.

On the night of the crash, two officers in the area were quick to respond when they heard it. Once they arrived they say Brit smelled heavily of alcohol while assisting him out of his burning car. 

According to the police report Brit said he didn't remember driving. He said he had only three ounces of Jack Daniel’s whiskey before going home from Rogers Park in Chicago's far north side.

Later on, Brit changed his story and told police he had been drinking beer not whiskey and only recalled pulling out of a parking space. 

This isn't the first time Brit has been involved with the law, in 2014 he was charged with possessing more than a half-pound of marijuana, not having car insurance, and running a stop sign.

The news of Bates' death has the community in mourning especially since he was in such great spirits following the crash. 

On Friday, the performer joked on social media about the end of visiting hours, “I think 10, but I’ve already let them know most of my friends are drag queens and it would be late!”

A GoFundMe page has been started HERE. Donations will go to Bates' family to help cover funeral expenses.