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Men Face DUI, Other Charges After Leaving Scene of Accident

Woman whose car is hit follows other driver until police catch up in Palos Heights.

Two men face charges for switching places in the driver's seat after leaving the scene of an accident on Dec. 11, reports said.

Peter Rodriguez, 44, of Tinley Park was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and permitting an intoxicated person to drive.

Palos Heights police charged Kristopher Zitta, 22, of Peotone, for driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence.

drove to 95th Street and Melvina Avenue after a woman called to say her car had been rear-ended by another car around 7:30 p.m. Police said the woman followed men’s car and saw both men get out and switch places after the accident.

She described Rodriguez, the driver, as wearing a Chicago Bears coat and Zitta, the front seat passenger seen switching seats with Rodriguez after the accident, dressed in a Chicago Black Hawks jacket.

Approximately five minutes after Oak Lawn cops, received the 911 call Palos Heights police reported stopping the men’s vehicle at 12330 S. Harlem Ave.

When Oak Lawn police arrived at Harlem Avenue, Palos Heights police pointed out the woman sitting in her own car in a parking lot.

According to the report, the woman said she was stopped for the traffic light at 95th Street and Melvina when Rodriguez stuck her from behind. After exchanging information, Rodriguez got back in his car and left. The woman said he was intoxicated.

She began following Rodgriguez and called 911. Police said the woman saw Rodriguez and Zitta trade places at a traffic light Ridgeland Avenue and Southwest Highway. She was able to identify Rodriguez as the driver who hit her, reports said.

Police spoke with Zitta who denied driving the car and said he was a passenger during the accident. He repeatedly denied being the driver, police said.

Rodriguez admitted to drinking beer at a bar in Chicago Ridge during the Bears game and was taken into custody for leaving the scene of an accident said.

When driving Rodriguez to the Oak Lawn police station, the officer said he could smell alcohol “emanating from the back seat” with the windows rolled up. Police said that Rodriguez refused to blow into the Breathalyzer at the police station.

Police said that Zitta showed up at the Oak Lawn police station to check on Rodgriguez. Zitta again told police he was sitting in the front passenger seat when the accident occurred reports said. By that time, Palos Heights police had charged Zitta.

In addition to the other charges, Rodriguez was also cited for speeding. His next court date is Dec. 29.

OL Resident December 28, 2011 at 05:38 PM
"He repeatededly died being the driver." Nice to know I am not the only one who misses out when proof reading my own work.

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