#76: Man who fired shots, then killed a woman in North Center car crash was on felony bail, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — Early on October 3, 2021, a Toyota Camry rolled to a stop at the red light at Damen and Irving Park. Its driver fired several shots at a car that was two lanes over, then sped away, only to run a red light a half-mile down the road and collide with an SUV, killing a woman inside. The driver ran away.

On Wednesday, prosecutors said Ollonzo Wilson, 38, was the person who fired those shots and killed 37-year-old Janelle Gardiner in the car crash. They said Wilson was on felony bail for a Class X narcotics charge at the time and had skipped court about ten days earlier. He has four previous felony narcotics convictions.

Wilson is now charged with murder during the commission of a forcible felony, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and failure to report an accident involving death. Judge Barbara Dawkins held him without bail during a court hearing yesterday afternoon.

Wilson is the 76th person accused of killing or trying to kill someone in Chicago during 2021 while on felony bail. The cases involve at least 113 victims, 32 of whom died.

Ollonzo Wilson | Chicago Police Department

Prosecutor Anne McCord told the judge that Wilson pulled out of a Wrigleyville parking garage shortly before 3 a.m. that morning and drove to Irving Park Road with another SUV traveling along with him.

At Irving and Damen, the vehicles stopped one lane apart to wait for a red light. A Chicago police officer who was also stopped for the light heard gunfire and saw Wilson firing a gun from his driver’s window toward the SUV, McCord said.

The cop activated their emergency lights and followed Wilson, who accelerated to a high speed, ran the light at Damen, and, at 74 mph, slammed into a Nissan Rogue that had the green light, according to McCord.

Gardiner, returning home from enjoying a concert with friends, was ejected from the Nissan’s passenger seat and died.

Wilson fled the scene, McCord said.

Inside his car, police found two phones, Wilson’s driver’s license, and the gun that was used to fire the shots at Wilson and Damen, according to McCord. She said DNA swabs from the airbag in Wilson’s car and the gun matched Wilson.

A judge issued an arrest warrant for Wilson a few weeks after the crash because he stopped showing up for court on the pending drug charge. When law enforcement officers arrested him on that warrant in February, he was carrying another gun, McCord said.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant Public Defender Lisa Boughton said Wilson has been working as a busboy for two years. He has no violent crimes in his background.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of murder, attempted murder, or shooting firearms toward people 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 less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.

Previous reporting

2023 “not horrible” cases

2022 “not horrible” cases

2021 “not horrible” cases

2020 “not horrible” cases

2019 “not horrible” cases

About CWBChicago 6902 Articles
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