Charges upgraded against drivers accused of hit-and-runs in West Loop, River North

Charges have been upgraded against two drivers recently charged with leaving the scenes of separate crashes in which they allegedly struck people on the roadway.

Courtney Bertucci | CPD

Courtney Bertucci, 30, skipped bail and went missing less than a month after she allegedly struck and killed 42-year-old bicyclist Paresh Chhatrala in the West Loop on April 16. The U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force arrested her Monday in suburban Addison, according to CPD.

Chhatrala was heading west on the 900 block of West Madison when an eastbound driver swerved into his lane around 10:13 p.m., according to a CPD report. Witnesses said the collision sent him flying into the air before he slammed to the pavement. Chhatrala died from his injuries days later.

While police were tending to him at the crash scene, 911 callers reported that witnesses located the driver nearby on the 100 block of North Aberdeen. Officers went there and found the victim’s bike lodged under the front end of a Volkswagen Jetta, the police report said.

Cops arrested the driver, Bertucci, who was being detained by a witness after she tried to escape on foot, prosecutors said.

She was originally charged operating an uninsured motor vehicle and a felony narcotics count for allegedly having 2.3 grams of suspected heroin in her car.

But Bertucci failed to show up for court in May and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest. While she was away, the charges were upgraded to reckless homicide, failure to report an accident involving a death, and possession of a controlled substance. All of those are felonies.

She was due in court on Tuesday.

Juno Miles is accused of accelerating away from a police traffic stop, injuring pedestrians and a police sergeant, in River North. | CPD; Provided

Also facing much more serious charges than prosecutors originally filed is Juno Miles, who allegedly struck a Chicago police sergeant and two pedestrians as he sped away from a traffic stop in River North around 8 p.m. on April 9.

Instead of getting out as cops requested, Miles allegedly put his car into gear and drove through a red light at the intersection of State and Grand, striking the sergeant in his legs and colliding with a woman and a 5-year-old girl who were crossing the street. A nearby surveillance camera recorded the events.

Miles left his state ID in the hands of a police officer, so cops knew who they were looking for, according to a CPD report.

Prosecutors only charged Miles with aggravated battery of a police officer during his initial bail hearing on April 15.

That changed significantly when the case went to a grand jury. The panel returned a true bill that charged Miles with three counts of attempted murder, six counts of aggravated battery, two counts of failure to report an accident causing injury, and two counts of fleeing the scene of an accident involving injury, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Miles was convicted of aggravated fleeing and eluding in 2018.

He remains free on bail to await trial.

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