The man accused of killing a 27-year-old cancer survivor and injuring the woman’s friend in a hit-and-run collision in Lakeview this summer must post $500,000 in cash to get out of jail on electronic monitoring, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz ruled Tuesday.
Prosecutors said DNA on a pair of flip-flops found at the crash scene definitively link Brett Dimick, 30, to the crime. Tuesday’s bond hearing also cleared the air about false rumors circulating on social media since the fatal collision.
Dimick, who never regained driving privileges after losing them in 2009, “should not have been behind the wheel” of any vehicle, Ortiz said after hearing about his background, which includes multiple DUI convictions, several traffic convictions, and two drug-related convictions in the suburbs, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
CPD surveillance camera footage shows Dimick’s gold BMW X3 traveling south on Halsted Street and then making a sharp right-hand turn into a gas station at Addison moments before the fatal collision, Murphy said.
The BMW drove through the gas pump lanes and exited onto Addison, where it struck a white Jeep and continued westbound, according to Murphy. The Jeep’s driver noticed a white arm resting on the BMW’s driver’s window base as it passed — a detail prosecutors would later use to argue Dimick, and not a Black male who was seen running from the crash scene, was responsible for what happened.
Moments after striking the Jeep, the BMW made a sharp, high-speed turn through a stop sign onto Fremont Street, where it hopped onto the sidewalk and hit Sophie Allen as she walked with a friend, Murphy said. Allen had recently completed chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Murphy cited this surveillance video, which shows the BMW swerving onto Fremont but does not show the BMW striking the women:
VIDEO: “Oh my God!”— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) August 15, 2021
A nearby home camera captured what appears to be the SUV making a sharp turn onto N Fremont. The two victims were hit soonafter. Witnesses tell me a lot neighbors jumped in to help.
More on @cbschicago at 10. pic.twitter.com/4OA9QAOlXi
Murphy said Allen “survived cancer but did not survive her encounter with this defendant.”
The BMW also struck a 24-year-old woman who was with Allen. That victim survived.
After striking the women, the BMW continued traveling down the sidewalk until it crashed into a metal fence. A food delivery driver reported seeing a White man get out of the driver’s side door and a Black man exit the passenger seat. The two men ran in opposite directions.
Murphy said that the driver took off his flip-flops and ran past the delivery driver on Fremont Street. Those moments were captured on a second video.
Chicago police collected the shoes and submitted DNA samples for testing. The results came back to Dimick, Murphy said.
After the DNA tests were complete, investigators conducted additional interviews, and Pugh, the defense attorney, arranged for Dimick to turn himself in on Monday.
Prosecutors charged Dimick with reckless homicide, failure to report an accident involving death, and failure to report an accident involving injury.
State law does not allow Dimick to be held without bail because the charges he faces could technically result in a probation sentence, Murphy said. Ortiz opted to require a half-million-dollar cash bond. Cash bonds, which are relatively rare, require full payment of the bail amount instead of a more typical 10% deposit.
Pugh, who called the crash “tragic,” argued that only one witness reported seeing Dimick get out of the driver’s seat but three of the BMW’s doors were open.
Rumors and facts
Social media chatter about the crash, CPD’s investigation, and Dimick’s whereabouts swirled in the days and weeks following the crash. For example, some online users repeatedly claimed that a warrant had been issued for Dimick’s arrest, but no such documents were generated.
One of the more fanciful rumors, that Dimick fled to Mexico or another state, also appears false. Pugh said he had been in regular contact with CPD on Dimick’s behalf since the crash. He said Dimick never fled the jurisdiction even though he knew the investigation was open and his arrest was “imminent.” Murphy, the prosecutor, also did not mention any suspicions of flight by Dimick.
In fact, when Ortiz ordered Dimick to surrender his passport, he told the judge he didn’t even have one.
Another narrative that took on a life of its own in the days after the crash involves a minor traffic accident on the 1900 block of West Irving Park Road on August 8, six days before the fatal crash in Lakeview.
Social media users claimed Dimick ran into another driver’s car and then fled the scene before police arrived — leaving his photo ID behind. Many people were outraged to learn that police “did nothing” about Dimick’s alleged involvement in the earlier collision.
A CPD report documenting the earlier crash said Dimick’s vehicle struck the back passenger side of the other driver’s Nissan Sentra while entering a turn lane at a stop signal.
However, the driver of the Nissan did not file a report with CPD until August 15, the day after Allen was killed, according to a copy of the crash report secured by CWBChicago.
Social media sleuths did get a couple of things right: Dimick was part-owner of a struggling Lincoln Park bar that was hosting a Mario Kart “Drunk Driving” promotion at the time of the crash, according to online records.