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Driver Was Speeding, Passing on the Right When He Killed Pedestrian: Court

By  Erica Demarest Kelly Bauer and Heather Cherone | April 22, 2016 12:12pm | Updated on April 25, 2016 8:58am

 Alejandro Rojas, 28, is scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon to face charges of reckless homicide.
Alejandro Rojas, 28, is scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon to face charges of reckless homicide.
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File photo/Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The Rogers Park driver who killed a 60-year-old pedestrian in a crosswalk last summer was speeding and passing another car on the right, prosecutors said Friday.

Alejandro Rojas, 28, is charged with reckless homicide in the July 23 crash, which happened about 5 p.m. near Central Avenue and Cornelia Street.

Rojas was driving a 2000 Chevy Trailblazer north on Central when a white sedan in front of him slowed down to make a left turn on to Cornelia, Assistant State's Attorney April Gonzales said during a bond hearing Friday.

Rojas cut right and tried to speed around the sedan, prosecutors said.

But a 60-year-old pedestrian was walking eastbound in a crosswalk at the intersection at the same exact time, Gonzales noted. Rojas hit the pedestrian, who was tossed into the air and landed on the ground.

Tadeusz Jakowski, 60, was rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, Jakowski died of "multiple injuries from a motor vehicle striking a pedestrian." His death was ruled accidental.

After the crash, Rojas got out of his car and called 911, Gonzales said.

He later admitted to authorities that he was driving, heard a bang, saw a shadow and then saw something fly into the air. He turned to see Jakowski on the ground bleeding from his mouth, prosecutors said.

According to Gonzales, video surveillance captured Rojas speeding toward the intersection and striking Jakowski in the 3500 block of North Central Avenue.

Rojas, of the 6400 block of North Glenwood Avenue, was initially cited in July with driving an uninsured vehicle and not practicing due care with a pedestrian in the roadway.

Upon further investigation, prosecutors this week decided to upgrade charges to include a felony count of reckless homicide.

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