Posted On: May 29, 2009

Suburban Chicago Teacher Charged with Sexual Abuse

A Maine East High School teacher faces sexual abuse charges stemming from an ongoing relationship she had with a former student. Jennifer Espinosa, a 38 year old resident of Park Ridge, IL, appeared in Skokie Bond Court on Monday where she was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a Class 2 felony carrying a sentence that ranges from three to seven years. Espinosa is a science and special education teacher at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Espinosa was arrested last Saturday night when Cook County Sheriff’s police approached a vehicle parked in the Golf Terrace Apartments in the 9600 block of North Golf Terrace in Des Plaines, IL. The 2009 Honda Pilot reportedly smelled of marijuana. Police discovered Espinosa in the car along with a 16 year old boy and a 22 year old man. The 22 year old, Alejandro Landi of Niles, was charged with misdemeanor drug possession. During subsequent questioning Espinosa admitted that she was a former teacher and mentor of the 16 year old boy in the car. She revealed that over the course of the previous eight months she had sex with the boy in her car, at her house and at the school. She reportedly admitted to police that she ‘loves’ the former 16 year-old student with whom she had an ongoing sexual relationship. Espinosa claims that the relationship began only after the boy was expelled. Both the teenager and the male passenger are suspected gang members.

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Posted On: May 26, 2009

Chicago Memorial Day Motorcycle Accidents Result in Six Deaths

The Memorial Day weekend turned out to be a deadly one for Chicago area motorcyclists as three separate accidents resulted in six deaths. The largest of the three accidents occurred in South Suburban Oak Forest. According to police, a southbound biker entered an emergency turnaround on Interstate 57 near the 185th Street exit on Saturday night. The motorcyclist reportedly turned around to go back north at which point three other northbound bikers crashed into the motorcyclist. The accident claimed the lives of 47 year-old Michael Adams of Kankakee, IL, 34 year-old Sean Darke of the South Side of Chicago, and 20 year-old passenger Brianna Moore of Calumet City. The biker that attempted to make the northbound turn survived the tragic accident and received two traffic citations. Another biker was listed in critical condition and two more in stable condition following the Chicago expressway accident.

Just twelve hours earlier Wade and Denise Thomas of St. Charles, IL, were killed when their motorcycle was struck in a chain reaction vehicle accident in Elburn, IL. That accident involved three vehicles and six motorcyclists.

A third Chicago area motorcycle accident claimed the life of 30 year old Martez Nile when he crashed his motorcycle at Dalton Avenue and Crandon Road in Calumet City yesterday. Details of the motorcycle crash have not yet been released.

Posted On: May 19, 2009

Nun Accused of Running Red Light in Illinois Car Accident that Caused Teen Death

A teenage driver involved in a 2007 Elgin car accident testified on Monday that she had a green light when her car was hit by a Chicago area nun. The car accident, which occurred around 12:00 a.m. on October 7, 2007, at the corner of Randall Road and Illinois Highway 27, resulted in the death of a 16 year-old boy. Sister Marie Marot, a French nun, now faces trial on charges of disobeying a traffic control device. Both Marot and 16 year-old Alexis Pena claim that they had a green signal at the intersection when the car crash occurred. The passenger in Pena’s car, 16 year-old Keith Forbes of Carpentersville, IL, was killed in the accident. According to reports, the van that Marot was driving struck the right rear of Pena’s Honda in the aforementioned intersection while she and three other passengers were heading west on Illinois Route 72.

Kane County Circuit Court Judge Ron Matekaitis has ruled that Marot could wear her habit to court despite the prosecution’s contention that the garb might influence the jury. The judge has also determined that that the jury will not hear testimony relating to the death of Forbes as such evidence could be overly prejudicial to Marot. Marot, a member of the Fraternite Notre Dame order, was on her way home to the Chicago convent after working at an Algonquin pastry shop operated by the nuns when the accident occurred. Marot was accompanied by about twenty other nuns to the first day of trial.

UPDATE: Sister Marie Myrot was found not guilty Tuesday of disobeying a traffic signal in the tragic Chicago car accident.

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Posted On: May 13, 2009

Chicago Man Faces DUI Charges Following Expressway Car Accident

A Chicago man was charged with DUI after a Monday night car accident that left one dead. Tommie Taylor, a 24 year old resident of the 3600 block of South Lake Park Avenue, was charged with aggravated DUI, driving without a valid driver’s license, and driving without insurance according to Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Michelle Tufenkjian. The Illinois car accident occurred in the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway at the 79th Street exit around 10:40 p.m. last Monday night. According to reports Taylor, who was already driving on a suspended license from a previous DUI conviction, lost control of his Cadillac sedan and sideswiped a Ford Crown Victoria. The Crown Victoria then struck a barrier wall partially ejecting the driver of the vehicle. The Cadillac driven by Taylor came to a stop in the far right lane.

The driver of the Crown Victoria, 30 year old Justin Hopkins of the 300 block of West 68th Street, was killed as a result of the Chicago car accident. Hopkins was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. at Stroger Hospital. Neither Taylor nor the two passengers in his vehicle suffered injuries as a result of the car accident. Taylor’s blood alcohol level has not been released as the car accident remains under investigation.

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Posted On: May 11, 2009

South Side Chicago Drunk Driver Car Accident Leaves one dead, seven injured

A tragic Chicago car accident left one dead and seven injured last night on Chicago’s South Side around 7:50 p.m. The three car crash occurred near the corner of 43rd St. and Western Avenue around 7:50 p.m. according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Joe Roccasalva. The accident occurred when a northbound 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by a 38 year-old man who is now in custody drove through the intersection while the traffic light was red and struck a 1993 Lexus. The Lexus was subsequently forced into a 2004 Toyota Corolla stopped at the southbound red light on Western Avenue. The driver of the Lexus, 45 year old Calvin Hatten of the 200 block of West 14th Place, was killed as a result of the collision according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Three others were listed in serious to critical condition while four were listed in fair to serious condition. Victims of the Chicago car accident were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital and Stroger Hostpital. All other victims were listed in stable condition as of Monday.

The 27 year old driver of the Cavalier was taken into police custody and sent to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he is listed in stable condition. The driver was allegedly intoxicated when he disregarded the red light and drove through the intersection. Charges against the alleged drunk driver are pending. The Chicago Police Major Accident Unit is still investigating the fatal Chicago car accident.

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Posted On: May 7, 2009

Pedestrian Killed by Cab Driver in Chicago Car Accident

A 42 year old pedestrian was killed last Sunday when he was struck by a taxicab on the North Side of Chicago. Robert Deighton, a 42 year old resident of the 5000 block of Foothills Road in Lake Oswego, OR, was struck by a taxicab in the 5500 block of North Sheridan Road as the cab was leaving a driveway around 6:30 a.m. Deighton was taken to Advocate Illinios Masonic Medical Center, He was pronounced dead at 7:08 a.m. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reports that public records show Deighton recently resided in the 1400 block of West Berwyn Avenue in Chicago.

The driver, 29 year old Desta Pawlos of Chicago, received a traffic citation for failing to stop when emerging from a driveway or alley. Pawlos is scheduled to appear in traffic court at 2:30 p.m. according to police. The Chicago Police Major Accident Investigation Unit continues to investigate the fatal Chicago car-pedestrian accident.

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Posted On: May 4, 2009

Illinois Motorcyclist killed in Lake Zurich, IL, car-motorcycle accident

A tragic Chicago area car-motorcycle accident resulted in the death of a motorcyclist on Sunday around 5:30 p.m. The accident occurred at the corner of U.S. route 12 and Old McHenry Road in Lake Zurich, IL. According to the Lake County coroner, 56 year-old Anita Zaffke of the 1500 block of Eddy Lane in Lake Zurich, died from chest and abdominal injuries suffered when she was thrown about 200 feet from her motorcycle. She died about an hour after the accident at Advocate Good Shepard Hospital in Barrington, IL.

Zaffke was reportedly stopped at a red light when she was struck from behind by a Chevy Impala. Reports indicate that the unidentified female driver that caused the fatal accident told the police that she was painting her fingernails when she ran the red light striking the motorcyclist. According to Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Scott Morrison, “It appears to be a tragic accident and it appears (Zaffke) did nothing wrong…She (Zaffke) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and she could not have done anything to avoid it.” The driver has been cited with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The driver may still face additional charges as the accident remains under investigation.

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Posted On: May 1, 2009

Chicago Pedestrian Killed in Hit and Run Accident on Northwest Side

A Chicago pedestrian was killed last night in a tragic hit and run accident on Chicago’s Northwest side. According to reports, 57 year-old Arturo Bracho was killed when he was struck by a rental truck near the intersection of North Cicero Avenue and West Grace Street at 10:30 p.m. Bracho was pronounced dead at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center around 12:03 a.m. according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

According to reports, an eastbound Budget rental truck struck Bracho as he attempted to cross Grace Street. The truck continued to travel east after Bracho was hit. The Albany Park District Police Department apprehended a man and woman a short time later at 3203 N. Kilbourn. Charges have yet to be filed against the two as the accident remains under investigation. If the hit and run driver that caused the death is not identified, the victim’s family may have an uninsured motorist claim against their own insurance company. If the at-fault party is identified, the family may have an underinsured motorist claim against their own insurance company.

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