Posted On: April 29, 2009

Illinois Semi-Truck Accident Causes Bridge Collapse

An Illinois interstate semi-truck accident caused major delays Tuesday morning on the Tri-State Tollway. The Chicago area truck accident occurred on the Chicago expressway at mile marker 62 near Libertyville, IL. According to reports, the accident occurred when the truck driver, 36 year old Michael Barak, fell asleep and veered off the toll way. The semi truck was heading northbound when it rolled off the roadway and plowed into concrete beams that were part of a bridge expansion. Large chunks of the beams fell onto Metra tracks servicing the Milwaukee District North Line causing substantial delays for Chicago commuters. According to Illinois State Police Sgt. Carlita Joe, the truck driver was taken to Lake Forest Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

The truck came to a stop in an embankment on the side of the Tri-State. The impact of the collision damaged at least four of the sixty foot concrete beams installed as part of the Chicago Tollway widening project. Barak will receive a traffic ticket for the offense however the charges against him have not yet been detailed. Illinois State Police will continue to investigate the accident as the wreckage is cleared and the reconstruction project resumed.

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Posted On: April 24, 2009

Chicago Metra Train Accident Kills One Pedestrian

A Chicago Metra train collision resulted in the death of one pedestrian around 5:00 p.m. last night. The Illinois train accident occurred about 200 feet before the Rogers Park station at 7000 N. Ravenswood on the Metra Union Pacific North Line. The North Side line is commonly used for students. According to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford, the train operator reported striking the pedestrian just south of the station. The train was stopped for around 110 minutes at the intersection of Thome and Ravenswood. The northbound train was en route to Waukegan.

The victim is reportedly a male in his twenties. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. An autopsy of the victim by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled for today.

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Posted On: April 22, 2009

Investigation Uncovers Tainted Well Water in Crestwood, IL

For over two decades residents of Crestwood, IL, have been unknowingly ingesting water containing chemicals linked to cancer, liver damage, and neurological problems. A Chicago Tribune investigation has determined that Crestwood officials purposely piped contaminated well water to residents despite promising residents and the Illinois EPA that they would use the water only for emergency situations. The untreated well water composed almost 20 percent of the water supplied to residents during some months. Reports reveal that residents of the south suburb of about 11,000 people were unknowingly ingesting the hazardous water while the village was touting its cheap water rates.

The tainted water well was uncovered in 1986 as the result of EPA testing. The EPA determined that Crestwood’s well contained dangerous amounts of Perchloroethylene (PCE) related chemicals. Once PCE is absorbed into the soil it forms a plume that is leached into the groundwater. PCE breaks down into two other carncinogenic compounds that are harmful to human health: Dichloroethylene (DCE) and Vinyl Chloride. The likely source of the contaminated water was determined to be a dry cleaners located in a strip mall about 300 feet from the Crestwood well. Crestwood officials announced in 1986 that they would supply citizens exclusively with treated lake water from Alsip. Crestwood’s annual consumer confidence report also informed residents that they were receiving treated lake water. However, a recently uncovered ledger reveals that Crestwood continued to use the contaminated well. Use of the well was confirmed by a village official who told EPA investigators that the well was often turned on in order to save water purchasing costs for the village.

Both DCE and Vinyl Chloride were found in the Crestwood well in 2007 when the EPA tested all municipal water wells in the state. The village finally agreed to cap the well for good following these 2007 tests. However, since that time the EPA failed to notify residents that may have been exposed to the carcinogenic groundwater. The village of Crestwood now receives all of its water from Lake Michigan.

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Posted On: April 15, 2009

Chicago Teacher Charged with Sexual Abuse of Student

A Northwest side teacher was charged with the sexual abuse of a student on March 13th according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The 29 year-old female teacher has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated sexual abuse based on her alleged conduct with one of her students from January 27, 2009, through February 23, 2009, while she was teacher at Lawrence Hall Youth Services. Lawrence Hall is a non-profit institution for at-risk children and teenagers located at 4833 N. Francisco in Chicago. The teacher is accused of purchasing and consuming alcohol and marijuana with the minor boy and also engaging in oral sex and sexual intercourse. According to reports, she would pick the boy up approximately four times a week at various north side locations. She is accused of taking the boy shopping for personal items including a cell phone and clothing and also engaging in sexual activity with the boy in her car. The teacher would then return the boy to the school after curfew hours.

According to Chicago Police, the teacher was arrested and charged on February 20th. She could serve up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. A civil lawsuit has also been filed in the case naming Lawrence Hall as a defendant. The suit claims that the school was negligent in failing to notice that the teacher was spending time outside of school with the boy and failing to enforce its own drug policies.

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Posted On: April 11, 2009

Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer Kills Two in Drunk Driving Car Accident

An off-duty Chicago Police detective killed two young men in a fiery car crash on Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway last night. Joseph Frugoli, a 41 year-old detective from the Bridgeport area, was heavily intoxicated when he allegedly plowed his black Lexus into the back of a disabled Dodge Intrepid near the 18th Street ramp around four in the morning. The fiery collision killed both of the passengers in the Intrepid. Frugoli was reportedly walking away from the crash scene when he was apprehended by police. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence, two counts of reckless homicide and one count of leaving the scene of the accident according to the Cook County State’s Attorney. Frugoli was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment where chemical testing showed his blood alcohol level to be three times the legal limit. He reportedly worked for the Wentworth area detective headquarters just off the Dan Ryan at 51st and Wentworth. The Police Department has released a statement reporting the Frugoli has been relieved of his police powers.

The victims of the crash were Andrew Cazares, a 23 year-old resident of the 7700 block of West 62nd Place, and Fausto Manzera, a 21 year-old Chicago resident. Cazares worked construction and was known as a talented artist and skateboarder. Manzera was also artistic and was a college student at DePaul University. The Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division has launched a probe following the tragic car accident.

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Posted On: April 9, 2009

Illinois Elementary School Principal Charged with Sexual Abuse

A far north side elementary school principal has been charged with criminal sexual abuse as a result of his inappropriate contact with an 11 year-old student. According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Daniel R. Pirozzi, of the 39000 block of North Green Bay Rd. Apt. #2, in Beach Park, IL, has been charged with one count of criminal sexual abuse – a Class 2 felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. He is the principal at Biblical Baptist Church Academy in Beach Park, IL. The sexual abuse allegations came to light last weekend when members of the girl’s family contacted the Sheriff’s Office. The elementary school girl told investigators that Pirozzi would conduct secret meetings with her in his office and in the church. During these meetings, Pirozzi would allegedly hug and kiss the victim and, on at least one occasion, fondle her breasts.

Pirozzo has been the principal of the academy for the last three years where he oversees children ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade. He has reportedly admitted in a statement to the police that his involvement with the victim had gone too far. Pirozzo remains in Lake County jail facing an Appril13th court date. Police are urging parents of children at the academy to speak with their children regarding any contact with Pirozzo. Parents are asked to call the Criminal Investigations Division at (847) 377-4250 if they believe their child may have been a victim.

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Posted On: April 7, 2009

Four People Injured in Chicago Car Accident

A Chicago traffic accident resulted in four injuries late Monday night in the West Side’s Lawndale neighborhood. The car crash occurred near the corner Douglas Boulevard and Kedzie Avenue around 11:45 p.m. According to reports, an eastbound 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix ran a red light and collided with a 1999 Jeep Cherokee that was southbound on Kedzie. The Pontiac carried a 35 year-old woman driver and two male passengers while the Jeep carried a 21 year-old male driver and an 18 year-old female passenger.

Chicago Fire Department Chief Joe Roccasalva reports that the victims of the crash were taken to two Chicago area hospitals. The woman driver of the Pontiac was taken to John Stroger Hospital where she was listed in critical condition. She received a citation for driving without insurance and driving without a valid driver’s license. The two male passengers of the Pontiac were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago and were listed in guarded condition. The 18 year-old Jeep passenger was taken to John Stroger Hospital in stable condition. The driver of the Jeep refused medical attention.

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Posted On: April 1, 2009

Pistachio Recall Linked to Nuts Sold in Illinois

A nationwide pistachio nut recall has been linked to several sellers in Illinois. The recall has been connected to a California processor. The company, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, has recalled its entire 2008 crop after several types of salmonella were found by Kraft foods – a customer of Terra Bella. Kraft reported its findings to the Food and Drug Administration on March 24th. The California Department of Public Health is investigating nuts processed at Setton Farms. Setton Farms is reportedly the second largest pistachio processor in the United States.

The pistachios were sent to about three dozen wholesalers throughout the country who repackaged and resold the nuts. Illinois retailers that carry the nuts include Kroger, Dominick’s, and the Georgia Nut Company. The voluntary recall of the nuts includes:

• Bulk or custom packaged Deluxe Mixed Nuts with shelled pistachios purchased at Georgia Nut stores in Skokie, IL, and Glenview, IL
• Bulk or custom packaged Dry Roasted Shelled Pistachios purchased at Georgia Nut retail stores in Skokie, IL, and Glenview, IL, and from the company’s website
• Mixed Nuts Deluxe Roasted and Salted Bulk with shelled pistachios purchased in bulk bins at Dominick’s finer foods in the metro Chicago area from December 10, 2008, through March 25, 2009
• Private Selection Shelled Pistachios sold in 10-oz containers “sell by” date of 12/13/09, 12/14/09, 1/14/10, 2/10/10, 2/11/10 and 3/23/10 sold in the Kroger Co.’s family of stores in Illinois

Salmonella infection can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections - particularly in children and the elderly. Salmonella infections are characterized by fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. If you have reason to believe that you or a loved one may be infected with salmonella, you should go to the doctor immediately. Salmonella can only be diagnosed through a stool test.

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