Left for Dead: NBC 5 Suing Over Public Records in Hit-and-Run Crashes

By Phil Rogers, Nathan Halder, and Shelby Bremer. NBC Chicago, November 17, 2022

For over a year, NBC 5 Investigates has been reporting on the shocking number of hit-and-run crashes across Chicago: more than 31,000 so far this year, killing 25 people and injuring over 4,100 others. Now, NBC 5 is taking multiple agencies to court over public records requests that have been denied.

Of the more than 37,000 hit-and-runs the city saw in 2021, Chicago police made just 95 arrests, data shows, for an arrest rate of 0.3%: more than 25 times lower than that of Los Angeles. Some of the most serious cases in recent years appear to have seemingly obvious leads – a vehicle left behind surveillance footage and more – but have languished without justice.

Linda Mensch was killed in a hit-and-run crash while leaving the Garfield Park Conservatory in August 2021. Investigators quickly released a photo of the van that hit her as well as its license plate. But for reasons Chicago police refuse to explain – they would not even question the vehicle’s registered owner.

It’s a pattern found in case after case and crash after crash.

Angel Bucio’s 12-year-old son was killed just days before Christmas two years ago. Sebastian Taylor lost his wife and infant child in June 2021. Agata Jagielski’s mother was fatally struck in a crosswalk 14 months ago. There have still been no arrests in any of these crashes.

NBC 5 Investigates filed dozens of public records requests to understand why these and other cases have seemingly stalled. Some of those requests have been repeatedly denied, with agencies citing exemptions to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act in their rejections.

Read more here: https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/left-for-dead-nbc-5-suing-over-public-records-in-hit-and-run-crashes/3000110/