CHICAGO (CBS) – An Illinois state trooper was chasing a car involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed two men nearly a month ago, Illinois State Police now confirm.
It’s a painful detail for the victims’ families, who are questioning how the driver could have jumped out of the wreckage and escaped with police right there.
“I couldn’t believe that this was happening, not Jerome of all people,” said Talmise Adams. Adams’ son, 35-year-old Jerome Clopton died in the hit-and-run.
Clopton’s family says he was a wonderful son and father, with a second child on the way.
“It feel like somebody just took our baby away,” said Clopton’s aunt Linda Sneed.
Clopton and 42-year-old James Moore, the stepfather of Clopton’s girlfriend, were driving home from work early Nov. 15 when they were struck by a speeding white Ford Fusion exiting the Dan Ryan on State at 71st Street.
Despite the horrific wreckage, the driver of the Fusion took off on foot. A police chopper and officers with dogs searched, but he was never found.
“Is he sleeping at night knowing what he did to two families? Because he just turned two families upside down,” Sneed said.
Then the family noticed something on the surveillance video that police never told them – an Illinois state trooper, lights flashing, was just 15 seconds behind the speeding car.
“The state trooper that pulled up 10 seconds in the video, why didn’t he see that guy? Why didn’t he get that guy?” Sneed said.
Illinois State Police say the trooper say the car speed by and “attempted to initiate a traffic stop.”
And Chicago police confirm the Fusion was not reported stolen but say they’re unsure if the registered owner was actually behind the wheel.
Clopton’s family says they want answers and justice for Jerome.
“We are not getting anything, and my son is just gone,” Adams said. “We have nothing.”
State police say the trooper did get out of his car that night to chase the driver but was unsuccessful.
The trooper is now on administrative duty pending an investigation of the incident.
The Chicago Police Department’s Major Accidents Unit is handling the ongoing search for the hit-and-run driver.