Bus Driver In Fatal Accident Charged With Sex Abuse

Updated 05/05/11 – 5:12 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — A Criminal Court judge has denied bail to a man accused of sex crimes against two children, and is accused of accused of running down a woman Tuesday night at a busy Streeterville intersection.

Prosecutors said 47-year-old David Soto had cocaine in his system when he ran down 23-year-old graphic artist Justyna Palka , and he was charged with driving under the influence.

But, as WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports, Soto was denied bail by Judge Israel Desierto because of unrelated sex charges, involving two pre-teen girls.

Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tamara Simonton said that police had issued an “investigative alert” for Soto more than two years ago. Police News Affairs Cmdr. Maureen Biggane confirmed that Soto had been the subject of an investigation since January 2009.

Prosecutors said during the bond hearing that while running a check on his name Tuesday, police found that he was wanted for two sex offenses.

He allegedly sexually molested an 8-year-old girl on Dec. 28, 2008, while she was visiting his house with another girl of the same age who is related to Soto by marriage, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Muldoon said at the bond hearing.

Prosecutors told Judge Desierto that both girls told their mothers, who in turn went promptly to police.

The girl also said Soto had molested her for a two-year period between 2006 and 2008 when she was 6 and 7, Muldoon said.

“This type of investigation is very sensitive, and the investigative process is very detailed,” Biggane said. “Critical investigative steps requiring specially-trained detectives must be taken to establish probably cause before an arrest can be made.”

Biggane said Soto disappeared by that time, and said detectives believed he had left the country.

“Efforts continued to locate this individual, with assistance being provided by additional units,” she said.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office had no problems finding Soto.

His commercial driver’s license was suspended on Aug. 3, 2008, when he was cited for speeding and driving without insurance, according to the Secretary of State’s office. It was reinstated after he obtained high-risk insurance.

His license was valid at the time of the accident, at Columbus Drive and Illinois Street.

Prosecutors said Soto told emergency personnel that he did not believe he had run someone over initially. An eyewitness told police that the bus ran over Palka with both its front and rear wheels.

The coach bus that Soto was allegedly driving was making a turn from Illinois Street onto Columbus Drive around 7 p.m. Tuesday, when it hit Palka.

Soto told investigators he heard a bump, which he thought was a curb, but then stopped the bus, got out and discovered the woman after he heard a second bump, a source said.

He underwent routine drug and alcohol testing after the accident and tested positive for cocaine, according to prosecutors.

Palka, of the 400 block of North McClurg Court, moved to the United States from Germany six years ago. She was identified by her LinkedIn profile as a graphic designer/art director at Ogilvy & Mather who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She is a former art assistant at Chicago Magazine, a creative intern at Ogilvy & Mather and a graphic design assistant at Bockos Design, Inc., according to the profile.

Soto’s record includes two prison terms for sex offenses. Illinois Dept. of Corrections records indicate that he was first convicted of attempted rape and aggravated battery in 1982 and sentenced to four years in prison. He was convicted in 1993 of rape, was released from prison in 1997 and was on parole until 2000.

A spokesperson for Secretary of State Jesse White said White will ask the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to impose tougher standards on those seeking a CDL, which would include fingerprinting and a background check.  Currently, Illinois law requires that only for school bus drivers. U.S. DOT standards bar only those who have committed a felony with a motor vehicle.

Soto returns to Violence Court (Br. 66) for a preliminary hearing May 24.

  • NWA

    Ahoh! I’ll bet none of the racist who post on the African-American shootings on the south-side story won’t be posting here.


    • Uncle Tom

      F**king Mexican child molesters.

    • Pothead

      I tried but it won’t post.

    • Idiotpatrol

      Lol…thought I was the only one who noticed that!!..People have sooooo much to say when the is black!!…smh

      • Mike Allen

        Really?! You people are stupid! Reports are made where reports ome from! You – you molest children – you kill police officers or other innocent children or teens or adults its your own fault. Not any one elses. Perhaps if the west and south sides would stop killing there own and other innocent people the postings would stop! However – stupid is as stupid does!

  • Arjay

    I remember the old days when we actually had traffic police downtown preventing these kinds of tragedies from occuring. Now their better used in what…fighting crime? Obviously not.

  • Justice...

    Stop look and listen…

  • gee-man

    Guess again “who mad” almost all the mutts that are arrested for the above crimes are ———-are you ready for this—–they are black11111 hahahahahaha

    • Anglo-Saxon

      So true gee-man, These occasional crimes by white guys really stir up the angry blacks. I guess it’s fair for them to get a rare chance to call whitey on it. It really doesn’t bother me, this guy is truly a creepo.

  • tunafish charlie

    white people have been killing people since they step foot on this earth…oh wait a minute…I”M WHITE…Lol…the blacks have learn from the whites..and very well i must add..funny when the shoe is on the other foot no one wants to talk about it..right MR.K K K…now listen you racist jerks there are only 2 types of people in the cruel world…RIGHT N WRONG..get educated FOOLS..Lol

  • ron

    Hey Mike I did not know that stupid people only stayed on the west and south
    side and last I check that come in all colors.

  • who mad

    awwwww gee man, u mad??? cuz a cracker got caught doin something deplorable???? stupid ass white folks!!

    • right

      hey black boy, he’s a mexican you dumb mulie

  • William Jenkins

    @ NWA

    LOL! I was just checking if Leroy Goldberg among others was gonna show his hateful ass up in here.

  • Drew

    People…let’s stop the worthless chatter as expressed above. A woman was, tragically, killed. The man responsible for her death was driving while under the influence of an illegal drug. He’s also a child molester. Yet, sadly, you choose to bicker about who does what to whom and where they may or may not reside? Would it not have been better to pray for the soul of the woman who perished? To feel some pity and sadness for the man as well, because it’s clear he’s only begun to feel the sting of his actions? These issues–and nothing more–are all that matter given the framework of this article.

  • Yadhirah

    Why they do not make background checks on iillegal aliens who are doing bad things to children specially under age children. The dept of transportation should make sure the bus drivers do not have in their drivers license the makr of pedophiles or murder on their background. Why did they allow to carry people on busses when he had sex offenses on a 8 year old girl. Please make sure this individuals are ot behind the wheel because passengers should be safe from predators like this one. God have mercy on his soul for using drugs and having evil tendencies towards children. Is his face already on Americas most Wanted?

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/05/05/jesse-white-calls-for-tigher-bus-driver-screening/ Page not found « CBS Chicago

    […] in Joliet by placing it in what authorities have euphemistically called her “intimate area.” 745Bus Driver In Deadly Accident Now Charged With Child Sex AbuseThe coach bus driver allegedly responsible for hitting and killing a woman in Streeterville while […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/05/05/jesse-white-calls-for-tigher-bus-driver-screening/ Jesse White Calls For Tighter Bus-Driver Screening « CBS Chicago

    […] of the background of 47-year-old David Soto, the driver who ran down 23-year-old Justyna Palka in Streetverille Tuesday night, White wants to expand the fingerprinting and background checks to cover all CDL […]

  • http://gobarnes.net/bus-driver-in-fatal-accident-charged-with-sex-abuse Bus Driver In Fatal Accident Charged With Sex Abuse | Go Barnes

    […] Bus Driver In Fatal Accident Charged With Sex Abuse A Criminal Court judge has denied bail to a man accused of sex crimes against two children, and is accused of accused of running down a woman Tuesday night at a busy Streeterville intersection. Read more on CBS Chicago […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live