Driver gets 9 years for fleeing the scene of fatal crash that killed beloved hospital employee in the Loop

CHICAGO — A Humboldt Park man was handed a nine-year sentence on Tuesday for leaving the scene after killing a Northwestern Memorial Hospital employee in a traffic crash in the Loop.

Christine Campbell was a month from retirement when she left work around 11:30 p.m. on December 2, 2020. About 15 minutes later, Marcel Windham ran a red light at Lower Wacker Drive and Columbus Drive and slammed into the side of her car.

Prosecutors said his car was traveling 53 MPH at impact. Campbell was pronounced dead at Northwestern.

Windham and his female passenger climbed out of the wreckage and asked the driver of a car traveling behind Campbell for a ride. That driver, who happened to be Campbell’s co-worker, refused. Surveillance video allegedly showed Windham and his passenger entering another vehicle and leaving the area.

Investigators tested DNA on the steering wheel airbag of the car that struck Campbell’s vehicle. Prosecutors said it matched Windham, proving that he was the driver at the time of the crash. His phone location records allegedly put him at the scene, too.

Marcel Windham and Christine Campbell

On Wednesday, Windham pleaded guilty to the most serious charge he faced, failure to report a fatal accident, a Class 1 felony. Prosecutors dropped two lesser charges, including reckless homicide with a motor vehicle.

After Campbell’s death, her son, Herman, told WGN that his mom was “the greatest person I ever knew.”

“The world is at a loss since she’s gone, I can guarantee you that one. She gave a lot of love and a lot of knowledge. Everybody she came in contact with, she always left them with something.”

Windham’s sentence will be reduced to 4½ years with good behavior. It will be reduced by another 984 days of credits he earned since being charged.

Judge Peggy Chiampas oversaw the case and sentenced Windham.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com