Four months after Chicago cops witnessed a hit-n-run crash that badly injured a pedestrian, prosecutors OK criminal charges

CHICAGO — 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 this week finally approved charges in the case. 

It’s another example of how long it often takes for motorists in Cook County to be held accountable for injuries they inflict while driving.

On-duty Chicago cops were stopped for a red light in the 6300 block of South Central around 4:45 a.m. on October 8 when a 2011 Honda Accord rocketed through the intersection at 50 to 60 mph, according to the crash report they filed that night.

The officers said their light had just turned green, and the Honda’s driver had the red light when he sped through the intersection, striking a 26-year-old man who was crossing the street.

They said the pedestrian flew into the air, landing 50 to 70 feet from where he was struck as the driver sped away. The officers pursued the driver until he pulled over in an alley behind his home, about two blocks away, their report said.

EMS transported the victim to Christ Hospital in critical condition. The CPD report filed on the night of the crash said he suffered a fractured pelvis and a laceration to his head. The officers said his left leg was being amputated as the cops filed their paperwork.

The officers cited the driver, but he was not criminally charged until this week.

Demetre Lambropoulos (Chicago Police Department)

An attorney representing 48-year-old Demetre Lambropoulos arranged for his surrender upon learning that police were looking for him in connection with the crash, according to court records.

Prosecutors on Thursday approved a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing injury or death against Lambropoulos. Judge Kelly McCarthy released him from custody on Friday.

Charges delayed

When criminal charges are filed against drivers in Cook County, it’s usually weeks or months after the crash.

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.

In another example, 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.

The officer driving the squad car suffered life-threatening injuries, including a fractured pelvis, a broken hip, and a fractured leg, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said the driver also left her 12-year-old son alone in the car while she drank at a bar before getting behind the wheel and driving away, according to prosecutors. The boy suffered a broken wrist and ankle in the crash.

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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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
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