$3 million Bail Set in Illinois Hit-and-Run Accident that Killed Cook County Correctional Officer

According to an online news report by Chicagotribune.com, bail has been set at $3 million for a West Side man charged with reckless homicide for the deadly hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a Cook County correctional officer. Our Chicago car accident lawyers read that the 38-year old officer was about to begin her overnight shift at the maximum security division of Cook County Jail on July 18th when she was struck by a van while crossing California Avenue near 29th Street around 11pm. Authorities say the van hit the officer and threw her into the middle of the road, where she was then pinned by a sheriff’s squad car. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Police say the driver of the van, a 57 year-old man of the 2900 block of West 25th Street, was taken into custody the following day after police found his van, which matched the description of the vehicle that hit the officer. He admitted to driving on California Avenue the night of the accident and “admitted to hitting something.” Police also talked to someone who told them he had seen the driver drinking alcohol Wednesday night prior to the accident. A judge later set the $3 million bail and ordered the driver to return to court on Monday for a preliminary hearing. Dozens of Cook County correctional officers packed into court for the hearing, saddened by death of the wife and mother of a 6 year-old girl, who had worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s office as a correctional officer for 12 years.

Illinois Secretary of State records show that Bello’s driver’s license was revoked in 2010 from a DUI arrest the previous year. After finally becoming eligible to appear at an administrative hearing to attempt getting his license back, he never applied, according to an office spokesman. Thus, he continued to drive despite the fact his license had been revoked. Bello had received court supervision for a 2002 DUI from LaSalle County, was issued a speeding ticket in 2008, and received a ticket for running a traffic light in 1999. The correctional officer’s husband stated that Bello driving on a revoked license added to the pain because he should not have been behind the wheel in the first place.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys learned that the driver was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and reckless homicide. He was also cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian, driving too fast for conditions, and driving on a revoked license. An assistant Cook County State’s Attorney stated he “had no regard for following the law” and “presents a clear and present danger” to other pedestrians and motorists.

A Cook County Sheriff thanked the Chicago Police Department and other agencies for quickly apprehending the driver. “Not only did CPD handle the accident investigation with remarkable urgency and respect, but the moral support from their officers to ours has been overwhelming,” the sheriff said in a statement on Friday. “To have this case closed and charges approved so quickly brings closure to both the family and our entire office.” Family members stated the correctional officer was a wonderful person and role model and will always be remembered.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys provide qualified legal representation to individuals and families who have been injured or killed as the result of negligent motorists. We are willing to assist you if you or someone you know has suffered personal injury, medical expenses, or property damage as the result of a motor vehicle accident. Please contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti to find out if legal recourse may be available to you.

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