CHICAGO (CBS) — Surveillance video was released Tuesday showing a car plowing into a West Side pizza parlor and killing an 81-year-old woman over the weekend.
The driver was released without any charges in the Saturday afternoon accident at Fullerton and Cicero avenues in the Hermosa neighborhood. As CBS 2’s Megan Hickey reported Tuesday, witnesses who were there on Saturday want to know why.
Witnesses said the driver tried to drive away. One employee at the restaurant even had to take his keys.
The witnesses described the man as “very disoriented” – the same way he was described in a police report from less than a year ago when he was arrested for drunken driving.
The white Ford sport-utility vehicle appears in the right hand corner of the video – hopping the curb, driving onto the sidewalk, and tragically striking five people who were waiting for the bus at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
The impact rattled the side of the restaurant, and video showed employees darting outside to help.
Meanwhile, new video from inside the shop showed the dramatic scene shortly after Myrna Logan, 81, was transported to the hospital – where she later died.
The 34-year-old driver was taken into custody, after several witnesses said he tried to drive away. His identity has not been released, since he has not been charged with a crime.
Instead, he was released after Chicago Police said Monday that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office did not approve the charges against him.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office refuted that claim, saying they have not rejected or reviewed the incident for criminal charges and adding that the investigation is ongoing.
And CBS 2 has discovered that if the driver ultimately is not prosecuted, it wouldn’t be the first time.
Last September, a woman called police near Diversey and Avers avenues in the Logan Square neighborhood because the same driver was asleep in his car, blocking the alley with the keys in the ignition.
He told police he’d been drinking and he didn’t know where he was. There were several open bottles of bourbon in the car and two loaded guns.
The man was charged with DUI and other weapons charges, but filed a petition saying the officer didn’t have proof he was actually driving.
Ultimately, the charges were dropped.
In the State of Illinois, one does not have to be driving to be charged with drunken driving – only to be in physical control of the car. The fact that charges were dropped in the aforementioned case might have hinged on the way the driver was arrested, but CBS 2’s Hickey continues to investigate.
On Tuesday, CBS 2 paid the driver a visit. But no one came to the door.
Chicago Police said they are still actively seeking information and collecting evidence in the case.