Home Local Witnesses chased driver accused of fatally striking bicyclist and held her for police, prosecutors say

Witnesses chased driver accused of fatally striking bicyclist and held her for police, prosecutors say

by staff

Several witnesses said they saw a woman in a car swerving before she hit a bicyclist and fled the scene in the Near West Side neighborhood in April, prosecutors said during a bond court hearing Tuesday.

Courtney Bertucci, 30, was charged with one felony count of reckless homicide and one felony count of failure to report an accident or death.


Cook County Judge Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez ordered Bertucci held on a $150,000 bond, meaning she needs to post $15,000 bail to be released while awaiting trial, during the hearing broadcast on YouTube.

Bertucci was charged with possession of a controlled substance immediately after the crash. That case previously went to bond court, and Bertucci was given a $10,000 bond, meaning she had to pay $1,000 to be released while awaiting trial.


Bertucci failed to appear in court on May 13 and was arrested Monday in Addison by a fugitive apprehension team.

On April 16, just after 10 p.m., three witnesses in a car driving behind Bertucci watched her run through two stop signs and swerve as they drove eastbound on Madison Street, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

As they approached Madison and Peoria Street, Bertucci allegedly swerved a second time into the westbound lane and struck Paresh Chhatrala, a 42-year-old man riding a bicycle, prosecutors said.

Chhatrala flew onto Bertucci’s windshield and his bike was lodged under Bertucci’s car, prosecutors said.

Chhatrala was later taken to a hospital where he was placed on life support for three days before he was pronounced dead, prosecutors said.

The witnesses in the car driving behind Bertucci followed as Bertucci allegedly fled the scene. Another witness, a DoorDash driver, also allegedly saw Bertucci hit Chhatrala and followed her, prosecutors said.

Bertucci eventually pulled over behind a parked car at 109 S. Aberdeen St., prosecutors said. The two drivers who followed boxed her in, the first stopping next to her and the DoorDash driver parking behind her.

The witnesses, including two passengers in the first car, chased Bertucci when she tried to run away, prosecutors said.


The witnesses told police the driver looked like she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prosecutors said.

Bertucci denied hitting anyone with her car when the witnesses started yelling at her, prosecutors said.

The witnesses held Bertucci until officers arrived and arrested her. Officers found a small bag of what they suspected was heroin in Bertucci’s car, prosecutors said.

On their way to the police station, officers heard Bertucci talking on the phone. They stopped and took her phone and found more small bags of what they believed was heroin on her, prosecutors said.

Surveillance video from the area allegedly shows Bertucci’s vehicle striking Chhatrala, and Bertucci driving with a bicycle stuck to the front of her car.


Bertucci’s next court appearance will be June 24.

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