Oak Lawn Man Faces Felony Hit-and-Run, DUI Charges
Accident leaves 62-year-old pedestrian seriously injured on New England Avenue, police say.
A 30-year-old man was charged with a felony for leaving the scene of an accident that left a pedestrian seriously injured, reports said.
Eric J. Smok, of the 9800 block of South Ridgeland Avenue, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of accident after Oak Lawn police said he struck a 62-year-old man shortly after 2 a.m. Jan. 5.
Police were called to the 9500 block of South New England Avenue for a hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian, reports said.
Upon their arrival, police saw the male victim laying in the parkway. When they attempted to talk to injured pedestrian, police said the victim could only mumble.
Police located the witness who called 911 in a nearby parking lot. The caller said he saw the pedestrian walking south on New England as the caller was walking toward his apartment and a white car traveling in the same direction.
While the caller did not see the impact, he told police he heard a “boom” and saw the pedestrian airborne and landing on the west side of the street, reports said.
The driver of the white car later identified as Smok got out and checked the pedestrian, before returning to his car and driving away, police said.
The caller did not see the driver’s face and told police he didn’t think he could identify him. The Oak Lawn Fire Department arrived on the scene to treat the injured pedestrian.
Chicago Ridge police were notified of the accident. A Chicago Ridge cop, without being informed of what happened, said he saw a white car travelling at a high rate of speed pull into the alley east of Ridgeland Avenue. The car, a white, 1997 Pontiac Trans Am, was parked in a lot off the alley.
Police were able to locate a name on an apartment matching the name on the Trans Am’s registration. Officers said a man identified as Smok answered the door.
Smok allegedly said he had hit a person and left the accident scene. He was taken into police custody.
According to the report, Smok had been at a bar where his girlfriend works as a bartender. On the way home, he said that his windshield was fogged up and he didn’t see the pedestrian. After he hit the man, he got out of the car to check if the man was alive.
Police said Smok recognized the pedestrian and “freaked out.” Smok asked the man if he was okay. He allegedly admitted: “Yeah, I did the wrong thing. I went home and didn’t know what to do.”
Smok agreed to field sobriety tests at that police station, but refused to take a preliminary breath test, reports said. Eventually, Smok agreed to a breathalyzer test, where police said he blew a .136.
Police interviewed Smok’s girlfriend who said she had served him 1-2 beers before he went to sit down with some people he knew at the bar. His girlfriend did not know how much more he had to drink after that, reports said.
They left the bar together and Smok was supposed to drive home with his girlfriend, but he decided to drive home alone, police said.
The girlfriend was standing in 7-Eleven at 95th Street and Oak Park Avenue when she told police that Smok called her, stating he had hit a pedestrian on the way home, according to the report.
Police also spoke to the pedestrian the next afternoon, who was heavily medicated. Reports said the pedestrian told police he had been at the same bar as Smok and girlfriend.
Smok told police he arrived at the bar around 10:30 p.m. the night before because he doesn’t like for his girlfriend to leave the bar alone at night. Police said that Smok had “five or six Miller Lights and a shot” from when he arrived until the time he left between 2:10 a.m. and 2:15 a.m.
He was driving southbound on New England when he saw the windshield crack and cave in, reports said. Smok said his windshield was fogged up or frosted, and could not see through it, police said.
The injured pedestrian suffered multiple facial fractures, including a fractured ankle, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and fractured shoulder.
In addition to the felony charges, Smok was also issued traffic citations.
The pedestrian was issued a citation for walking on the roadway when a sidewalk was provided, reports said.
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