OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — A man is still recovering at Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition after a car driven by Oak Lawn’s village manager hit him and took off.
CBS 2 learned that same Oak Lawn leader left the scene of another accident just a few years back.READ MORE: Third Man Claims He Was Sexually Abused By Fr. Michael Pfleger Over 40 Years Ago
The scene along Harlem Avenue in Chicago Ridge Thursday night left officers investigating a hit and run. In the middle of the road, police found 48-year-old Mark Berkshire bleeding — but the driver and car who ran into him were nowhere to be found.
Investigators would later determine Larry Deetjen, the Oak Lawn village manager, was behind the wheel. The 70-year-old told police he wasn’t aware he struck a person.
“‘Something distracted me like a beep or some kind of horn or whatever, and I know I hit something, but I really thought it was some kind of barricade or some kind of drum sitting on the street. They were doing construction on the street. I looked around and nobody else was stopping and I just left and came home,'” Chicago Ridge Police Chief Robert Pyznarski recounted Deetjen saying.
Yet, there was damage to his car — a car issued by Oak Lawn.
CBS 2 discovered Deetjen sang a similar tune in 2013. That’s when Palos Park Police found his village issued car “unoccupied” with “under carriage damage” after the car hit a “cement block” on Southwest Highway. And like this week, the driver was also missing.
Cops ran the plate and traced the car in the ditch to the Village of Oak Lawn.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: Full List Of Mass Vaccination Sites With More To Open Thursday; 2,104 New Coronavirus Cases, 44 More Deaths
It turns out a “Village of Oak Lawn truck and tow truck” arrived to “pick up the vehicle” first.
Deejten said he “was not familiar with the area at night” had “made a U-turn” and “went into a ditch.”
In the 2013 accident, Deetjen did not injure anyone, but also failed to stay on scene.
This time, the accident left that man seriously injured.
Police don’t believe alcohol was a factor.
“He was distressed after hearing about it … and he realized the importance of how severe it was … so he’s regretful about what happened,” Pyznarski said.MORE NEWS: Lightfoot, CPD Announce Changes To Search Warrant Policies; Police To Begin Tracking Wrong Raids Resulting From Faulty Information
Charges are pending against Deetjen but if the condition of the man critically injured in this hit and run changes, he could face an even stiffer charge.