UPDATED 08/14/12 4:40 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A taxicab was destroyed beyond recognition Tuesday morning, after it slammed into a bench and a pole at Chicago and Milwaukee avenues and killed a man waiting at a bus stop.
The driver of that cab, John Kesse had been ticketed 28 times between 1988 and 2009, according to court records. He had not tickets on his record since then.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song and Suzanne LeMignot report, Kesse was pulled out by passersby who saw the taxi burst into flames after the crash. He was being treated at Stroger Hospital of Cook County Tuesday morning.
A passenger somehow escaped and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
But the man who was waiting for a bus was killed instantly as the cab crashed into the bench where he was sitting.
Eric Kerestes, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:35 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Originally from downstate Bloomington, Kerestes was married and studying for his MBA at the University of Chicago while working at Kiewit Eastern District, according to a family spokesperson.
Kiewit Eastern District specializes in performing heavy construction such as tunnels, bridges and reservoirs, according to the company website.
He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign.
The roof and sides of the cab was preserved well enough to reveal that it carried medallion No. 1681 and was affiliated with Checker taxi. But was the front of the cab was burned to the point where the metal was left warped and mangled.
Witnesses say the cab driver was speeding down Milwaukee Avenue, far beyond the speed limit, when he veered off.
The cabbie first struck a light pole and sent it crashing down. He then hit Kerestes, who was sitting at the bus stop bench near a CVS Pharmacy.
The cab driver told police his vehicle took off at a high rate of speed. He says he tried to stop and realized he had no brakes.
Dan Faraci came to the rescue after he saw the cab on fire.
“I saw him coming down Milwaukee Avenue. He was heading south on Milwaukee. I saw him hit the light pole, and it flipped like four times. I saw the cab launch straight down. I saw him hit the light pole,” Faraci said. “He had a passenger. He was getting out of the car, and the car caught fire, so a couple of us helped the cabbie out.”
Molly Kolosky, who also lives nearby, says the intersection – which is also bisected at an odd angle by Ogden Avenue – can be dangerous.
“I think this intersection is pretty tricky. When I’ve driven around here, it’s kind of crazy,” she said.