6 months after crash killed pedestrian in West Rogers Park, charges are filed

Adis Spahija and Michael Valentin (Chicago Police Department, Casey & Rios)

CHICAGO — Nearly six months after two cars collided and then struck a man who was standing on a West Rogers Park street corner, prosecutors have approved reckless homicide charges against one of the drivers.

Adis Spahija, 19, of Lincolnwood, surrendered to Chicago police on Sunday and was released from custody by Judge Ankur Srivastava on Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors said he was speeding east on Peterson Avenue in a 2014 Nissan Touareg when the traffic signal at California Avenue turned yellow around 7:26 a.m. on September 18. An 18-year-old woman driving in the opposite direction was in the process of turning south on California when Spahija entered the intersection and slammed into her car, according to a Chicago police report.

Both cars careened onto the sidewalk and struck 33-year-old Michael Valentin. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a charging document, prosecutors said Spahija was driving “recklessly” above the speed limit and disobeyed a traffic signal. Spahija remained at the scene and was initially cited for traffic infractions. He also voluntarily submitted to a DUI test, which came back negative, according to a crash investigation report.

It is not clear why prosecutors have not approved criminal charges until now.

Several other drivers have recently been criminally charged in connection with auto crashes that occurred weeks or months earlier:

  • More than four months after a hit-and-run driver badly injured a pedestrian as Chicago police officers witnessed the crash with their own eyes, prosecutors last week charged a man with leaving the scene of an accident involving injury.
  • Off-duty Chicago police officer Tangie Brown allegedly struck and killed a woman outside Marina City on December 7, but charges were not approved until late last month. That’s even though, according to prosecutors, Brown remained at the scene, admitted to fumbling with her phone while driving, and returned a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
  • Prosecutors last month charged a 33-year-old woman with two counts of aggravated DUI causing bodily harm for a crash that occurred on November 19. The charges were delayed even though, driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, she allegedly collided head-on with a marked CPD squad car that had an active dash cam.
  • Also in January, prosecutors filed reckless homicide charges against a 39-year-old man who allegedly killed the passenger of another car in a crash at 54th and Western on October 27. The charges were delayed even though police arrested him at the scene, and the victim succumbed to her injuries while he was still in custody.

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