CHICAGO (CBS) — A carjacking arrest is bringing new hope for answers to the family of a hit-and-run victim.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Sunday night, Chicago Police have connected a clue that could mean a break in the case.READ MORE: Video From Police Shooting That Killed Adam Toledo To Be Released On Thursday, COPA Says
Police announced Veronica Harden’s arrest on carjacking charges on Saturday. She was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking, two counts of aggravated battery, and one count of aggravated kidnapping.
In one crime, police said Harden carjacked a woman in a parking lot in the 3300 block of West Belmont Avenue on Feb. 6, and drove off with the victim’s 8-year-old son still in the car. The boy escaped unharmed at a nearby intersection.
Harden was arrested Thursday night in the 4200 block of North Richmond Street, after police spotted her driving a vehicle stolen in a carjacking one day earlier.
But there is one detail in her story that has the family of a hit-and-run victim hoping for closure in their tragedy.
Instead of smiling and living life, Alex Betzel is still in the ICU at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
“But today, she was doing really good,” said Betzel’s girlfriend, Megan Brennan. “She was sitting in a chair again.”
That is a huge progress report after the Betzel, 31, almost died.
“It’s – I sometimes feel a little numb talking about it,” Brennan said.
Betzel was biking home from an errand on Feb. 10 in Chicago. A driver hit her with their vehicle at Kimball Avenue and Addison Street, then crushed her with the back tires – puncturing her lungs and breaking nine ribs.READ MORE: COVID-19 UK Variant Cases Up 31% In Illinois In One Week; Still Stopped By Vaccine
The suspect and vehicle used – unknown until recently – are a clue.
“It was shocking,” Brennan said.
Chicago Police believe the suspect vehicle was stolen in a carjacking. It was the very car that had been carjacked from a mother in the Aldi parking lot on Belmont Avenue four days earlier.
It was unclear if Harden was driving at the time of the hit-and-run.
“It just makes me so really sad,” Brennan said.
Police have not announced any new charges in Betzel’s case, though Harden is now charged in those two carjackings.
Brennan said her girlfriend wrote these heartwrenching words after learning the news: “I think it gave me permission to stop blaming myself.”
“It was enough information to help her get over that hurdle of like, she did nothing wrong,” Brennan said.
While many questions remain unanswered, a family hopes for healing and justice.MORE NEWS: Five Things We Know About The Adam Toledo Police Shooting Case
The family is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. So far, a GoFundMe has raised close to $60,000.