BRIDGEPORT — The "senseless" car crash that seriously injured a McKinley Park man while he was riding his bike through Bridgeport has neighbors worried and authorities seeking harsher charges for the men involved.
Scott Jacobson, 47, was riding his bike west on 35th Street at 6 p.m. May 2 when a black SUV heading east made a U-turn and plowed into him before dragging him for blocks.
Jacobson, who was riding home after dropping his kids off at wrestling practice, was seriously injured but is expected to recover. A GoFundMe account set up by neighbors has raised over $38,000 for Jacobson.
The black SUV that hit and dragged Jacobson was driven by Joshua Thomas, 26, who was with a group of other men police said were documented "gangbangers," according to Officer Martin Loughney at a Deering District CAPS meeting Tuesday.
"The gangbangers saw him and thought, 'I'll just run him over,' " Loughney said. "This is just senseless."
Jacobson was dragged to 35th Street and Lowe Avenue, where his screaming caught the attention of firefighters, Loughney said. Loughney said that the men inside the SUV tried to thwart firefighters and even clashed with police once they arrived.
One of the men tried fleeing the scene, Loughney said, even though the man was partially paralyzed in a drive-by shooting and had no use of his legs.
"He did not get far," Loughney said.
Thomas and his friends only face misdemeanor charges, Loughney said. Thomas faces charges of reckless driving and driving without insurance, among other charges, and is no longer in police custody.
The announcement of the charges drew an audible reaction from the crowd at the CAPS meeting.
Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11th) said state prosecutors "are hoping to upgrade those charges."
The incident was one of three recent car crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists in neighborhood, police said.
Chicago firefighters help Scott Jacobson. [Submitted]
Another serious car accident took place May 3, the day after Jacobson was hit. In this case, a 68-year-old man was not looking while turning left onto 35th Street from South Halsted Street and struck two people, including a 9-year-old boy, according to media reports and police.
Loughney also said the two pedestrians were not paying attention to the man when they were hit.
"It was a combination of everyone not paying attention," he said. "It's the driver's fault, but you gotta be aware."
In another case, a child on a Bridgeport residential street chased after a ball in the street and was "bumped" by an oncoming car, Laughney said. He said the child was not injured in the accident.
"As soon as he saw the kid he slammed on the brakes," Loughney said.
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