PORTAGE PARK — An Avondale man was charged Thursday in connection with a March 2013 attack on a man after he and his wife left a St. Patrick's Day party at Our Lady of Victory Church, police said.
Kenneth E. Keel, 29, of the 3200 block of North Kildare Avenue, was arrested in connection with the attack on Dennis Tisdale near Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues and charged with one count of felony aggravated battery that caused great bodily harm, police said.
Keel was held in lieu of $250,000 bail Thursday.
Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said in court Thursday that Tisdale and his wife, Linda, were walking in the street because of snowy sidewalks when Keel drove by in his girlfriend's minivan.
Scaduto said Tisdale brushed against the vehicle's side mirror, "enraging" Keel and sparking a confrontation.
Keel then got out of the front passenger seat with a baseball bat and repeatedly hit Tisdale in the head and body before driving off, authorities said.
Scaduto said Keel later told a family member about beating Tisdale, and said he should also have attacked Tisdale's wife during the confrontation.
"I should have beaten the b----," Keel said, according to Scaduto.
The relative whom Keel told about the attack turned Keel in to police, Scaduto said. Police later found the aluminum bat used in the attack in Keel's garage, prosecutors said.
Linda Tisdale said she and her husband identified Keel in a police lineup Wednesday evening.
"My heart was racing," Linda Tisdale said. "But I knew from the second I saw him that he was the guy who attacked us. I knew it was him, 100 percent."
Linda Tisdale said she has been having nightmares about the man who attacked her husband for 11 months.
"That night I looked right into eyes," Linda Tisdale said. "I'll never forget his eyes. I looked right into them again during the lineup."
Linda Tisdale said she was thrilled he is behind bars.
"It is going to take awhile to sink in," Linda Tisdale said. "I'm so relieved."
The person who turned Keel in "will always have a special place" in her heart, Linda Tisdale said.
"I didn't give up hope" that he would be caught eventually, Tisdale said. "I thought he would eventually open his mouth."
Dennis Tisdale, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken jaw as well as injuries to his ribs and hands, has made a nearly complete recovery. Linda Tisdale was not injured.
Tisdale required 150 staples and stitches to his head after the attack, prosecutors said. He suffered severe cerebral hemorrhaging, a fractured skull and was in a coma for three days, authorities said.
Next month, Dennis Tisdale will undergo a brain scan to check whether his skull is healing properly, his wife said.
"He gets pretty bad headaches, which he never got before," Linda Tisdale said, adding that he is also more sensitive to the cold now than he was before the attack.
Dennis Tisdale returned to work as an ironworker in July, and wears a special hard hat to protect his skull, Linda Tisdale said.
"He's a miracle in every way," she said.