#63: Six-time felon killed a pedestrian while driving 66 MPH less than a month after posting bail in gun case, prosecutors say

Kerry Mathis | CPD

One month after posting $1,000 to go home and await trial on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Kerry Mathis killed a pedestrian by slamming into her at 66 MPH, prosecutors said Saturday.

Mathis, 28, is now the 63rd person accused of shooting or killing someone, or trying to shoot or kill someone, in Chicago last year while awaiting trial for a felony.

On August 17, Judge David Navarro set bail for Mathis at $10,000 on the gun charge, and Mathis went home by posting a $1,000 deposit. According to court records, a grand jury later upgraded the charges to Class X armed habitual criminal.

But tragedy struck on September 16 when Mathis veered onto the wrong lanes on the 700 block of North Kedzie Avenue and slammed head-on into an approaching vehicle that was preparing to make a turn, said Assistant State’s Attorney Anthony Garcia.

A 56-year-old woman who was crossing the street was crushed between the two cars and died at the scene, Garcia told Judge Kelly McCarthy during Mathis’ bond hearing Saturday.

Mathis’ vehicle swerved off the road and hit a tree, ejecting him and his rear-seat passenger, both of whom were injured, Garcia continued. The driver of the other car was also injured.

Investigators tested blood on the driver’s side airbag of the car that swerved into the wrong lane and killed the woman. It matches Mathis’ genetic profile, Garcia alleged. A witness also identified Mathis as the driver responsible for the crash, he said.

Mathis has six previous felony convictions, one for escape and the others for narcotics, according to Garcia.

Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said Mathis lives with his wife and is the father of seven minor children. She said he worked for a moving company until he suffered severe injuries in the car crash, which she called a “tragic accident.”

Judge McCarthy ordered Mathis held without bail until the judge handling his armed habitual criminal case can review the new developments on Monday. She set bail on the latest allegations at $150,000. He must post 10% of that to go home on electronic monitoring under McCarthy’s order.

Editor’s note: This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, or trying to kill a person while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com