Driver fell asleep on downtown Chicago expressway, drove into IDOT worker who helped him: prosecutors

Angel Martinez (Illinois State Police, Arvell Dorsey Jr)

CHICAGO — A man who fell asleep behind the wheel of his car in a traffic lane at Hubbard Cave accelerated into an IDOT worker who woke him up, causing serious injuries, according to the Illinois State Police.

Angel Martinez, 25, fled the scene, leaving the 33-year-old IDOT employee lying on the expressway, officials said. Later, Martinez called the state police to see why they towed his car from near his house, but he denied being involved in an accident, prosecutors claimed.

An IDOT worker found Martinez sleeping in the driver’s seat of his Nissan Altima in the right traffic lane on May 11 and called for assistance when she couldn’t wake him up, officials said. A second IDOT employee arrived, and the workers managed to rouse Martinez.

In an ISP report, a trooper said Martinez gripped his steering wheel tightly and was “non-responsive initially then began to ask why he was there and why IDOT was there.”

According to the trooper’s report, Martinez reversed his car, then maneuvered into another lane so he could drive around an IDOT truck that was blocking his path. The male IDOT worker tried to get out of the way but ended up in front of Martinez’s car. The report said he put his hands on the hood of Martinez’s car and eventually jumped onto the hood to avoid being run over.

But Martinez allegedly accelerated, causing the man to fall off the hood and strike his head on the pavement.

The injured IDOT worker received eight stitches to cover a gash above his eye, the ISP report said. He also suffered cuts, bruises, and scrapes on both arms and hands.

ISP troopers located Martinez’s car near his home later that morning and impounded it. He called the state police within hours.

A few days later, according to the ISP report, he turned himself in, confessed to falling asleep, and said he drove away out of fear of having his car towed. He allegedly told investigators he knew the IDOT worker jumped on his hood and rolled off, but he continued home and went to bed.

He is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery of a protected employee, and failure to report an accident involving injury.

Judge Ankur Srivastava released him from custody to await trial.

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