By Chris Tye

DEERFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — There were major developments Wednesday in the search for a driver who hit a 12-year-old boy in Deerfield and never stopped.

The boy’s dad offered a $10,000 reward for to the driver, provided that the driver surrendered. As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, the dad, Thad Thompson, was saying Wednesday that his unconventional approach worked.

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“They’ve identified the driver and have the car in their possession, and are continuing their investigation,” Thompson said.

Deerfield police told Thompson that they believe the person of interest brought to the police station on Wednesday is the driver who hit his son, Chase, last Friday night.

Chase Thompson

Police also told Thompson they think they have the car that hit the boy.

Police took possession of a vehicle, a dark colored Ford Escape with front-end damage, believed to be involved in the crash shortly after 7 p.m. in the area of Deerfield Road and Beverly Place.

The vehicle “is being processed for items of evidentiary value and police are also interviewing a person of interest at this time,” police said in a statement.

All of this is the result of a tip that Thompson believes was spurred by his $10,000 offer.
“Absolutely, I think that idea that I had – which I don’t know where it came from,” Thompson said. “You know, I’m just glad that the little the turn-yourself-in legal fee thing – it generated a lot of interest.”

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Thompson would have paid the driver if that driver had surrendered by 7:07 p.m. this coming Friday – one week from the accident. But the driver did not surrender, so instead the reward will go to the tipster.

Chase is nonverbal, and is kept secure with double-cylinder locked doors. But with no jacket and no shoes, Chase still made it out of the family’s home this past Friday and was hit by the car.

Thompson feels his unconventional approach helped his son in the only way he is able.

“There are very few ways I could help Chase right now. I feel like I helped him, and you know, I get a little tingly saying that, because I’m relatively powerless right now to do anything but to help protect his future and provide some justice,” Thompson said.

Police told Thompson they think the driver hit the boy at a full 35 mph, never hitting the brakes.

As of Wednesday night, there were no charges against the driver.

Chase was in critical, but stable condition at Lurie Children’s Hospital Wednesday night and was slowly improving.

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He is expected to be at the hospital for at least two more months.