By Chris Tye

DEERFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A Deerfield father has made an unusual offer – promising $10,000 to the hit-and-run driver who hit his son.

The boy, Chase Thompson, is just 12 years old and has autism.

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As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, we usually come on the news to talk about a $10,000 reward being offered for information leading to an arrest. But Chase’s father, Thad Thompson, has a message for the offending driver – turn yourself in, and you’ll get the money too.

“The idea came to me on an hour’s sleep under the greatest duress I’ve ever been in my entire life. It just popped into my head – how can I get people interested, and how can I convince this person that I’m serious?” Thompson said. “You can turn yourself in. We’re not looking for blood.

Chase was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Deerfield Road near Beverly Place shortly after 7 p.m. Friday.

“It was an accident before it was a crime, and so that’s why I can have empathy up to that point,” Thad Thompson said.

Chase Thompson

Chase Thompson, 12, was struck in a hit-and-run in Deerfield on Friday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Credit: Thompson Family)

With no jacket and no shoes, Chase made it out of the family’s home on Friday – complete with double-cylinder locked doors.

“Double cylinder, you know, keys inside, and you have to balance it against fire safety. We don’t want everybody trapped in our house,” Thad Thompson said. “We thought we had achieved the right balance between keeping Chase secure and not living in a prison.”

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Chase has autism and is non-communicative.

“I have never had a conversation with him, so there’s always trying to guess what he does and doesn’t understand,” Thad Thompson said, “and unfortunately, he understood something we didn’t think he did.”

When Chase hit the street, the car hit him and left him for dead. As of Monday, Chase remained in critical condition at Lurie Children’s Hospital – and the financial incentive for the driver remained on the table.

But that’s only for now.

“It’s not going to last forever,” Thad Thompson said. “At some point, we’re going to up the criminal reward and I’ll succumb to the less empathetic feelings that our family will definitely be having.”

Police are looking for a dark-colored Ford Escape with a model year between 2013 and 2016 – with an SEL or Titanium trim package and possible front-end damage on the passenger side.

Thad Thompson said Chase is touch-and-go at the moment.

The family’s attention remains on the strong and sweet 12-year-old, and conscience of the person who put him there.

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“If they don’t do the right thing now, I hope it haunts them,” Thad Thompson said.