<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:28:25 -0500 Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:28:25 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bears Cut Williams, Britton Saturday]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 12:37:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/453981648.jpg

The Chicago Bears are continuing to trim players from their roster as they try to get down to 53 players by the 3 p.m. NFL deadline for roster cuts.

As of noon, the Bears’ roster stands at 62 players, with nine more players needing to be cut.

Two more big names joined Jordan Lynch on the proverbial streets on Saturday, as offensive lineman Eben Britton and wide receiver/kick returner Chris Williams were both released by the team. Britton missed a good chunk of time with a hamstring injury, and with the Bears likely only keeping eight offensive linemen, he will be on their short list if there’s another injury.

As for Williams, he also missed a lot of time with a hamstring injury, and with the team only keeping six wide receivers (assuming that they keep Santonio Holmes and Josh Morgan), there wasn’t going to be room for him if he didn’t dazzle in the return game Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, and frankly he didn’t.

That move likely means that Micheal Spurlock will get a shot to return kicks when the season starts, with Holmes also getting some work in that area.

Numerous other players were also cut by the Bears early in the day, with wide receiver Dale Moss, center Taylor Boggs, offensive lineman Ryan Groy, defensive back Marcus Trice, linebacker DeDe Lattimore, and defensive tackle Lee Pegues also being sent away. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Boggs and Lattimore could end up being added to the practice squad if they clear waivers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grizzly Detail's NFL Preview: AFC North ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:21:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP93097597726%281%29.jpg

The NFL season is just five days away, and Grizzly Detail will be going through our predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions, as well as our picks for the Super Bowl and the various awards available after the campaign.

We’ve already gone through the other three divisions that the Bears will play against this season, so we’ll continue our look at the AFC today with our AFC North predictions. Will the Cincinnati Bengals once again reign supreme, or will one of their rivals steal the spotlight?

Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5

We hate to ruin the suspense early, but we’re going to be picking the Bengals to win another division title. This group is simply too loaded on the offensive side of the ball, with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert forming a tremendous young nucleus of players for Andy Dalton to throw the ball to. Running back Giovani Bernard is also an excellent player, and second-round draft pick Jeremy Hill makes the running game even more potent.

As if that group isn’t scary enough, the Bengals’ defense might be even better. With Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins wreaking havoc in the front four, and Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga rounding out the front seven, the Bengals can not only defend the passing game well, but they can get excellent backfield penetration and make life miserable for their opponents.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7

The Steelers are a team that has been accused of getting long in the tooth in recent years, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is seeing his teammates on the offensive side of the ball get younger and younger. Antonio Brown is arguably in the conversation as one of the top five wide receivers in the league, and he’ll be joined this season by Markus Wheaton.

Veterans like Heath Miller and Lance Moore will also make the Steelers’ passing game more potent, and when you factor in running back Le’Veon Bell, the offense is a multi-dimensional threat that won’t be fun to defend against.

The question for the Steelers will come on the defensive side of things, as they try to get one or two more good seasons out of strong safety Troy Polamalu. Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier is a guy who could be a key force for the defense, but he’ll have a lot of work to do as the Steelers try to crawl their way out of the bottom-10 in the league in rushing defense.

Baltimore Ravens: 7-9

The Ravens are a team that’s always tough to figure out, as they seem to straddle the line between rebuilding and competitive football. Quarterback Joe Flacco’s massive contract is a part of the reason for that, but this season he has Steve Smith to throw the ball to at the wide receiver spot, and if tight end Dennis Pitta can have the kind of season fantasy prognosticators think he will, then the Ravens’ offense should be decent.

The Ravens are generally a force on the defensive side of things as well, and this year should be no exception. In the 2013 season, they finished close to the top 10 in the league in both passing and rushing defense, and having veterans like Terrell Suggs and skilled corners like Ladarius Webb should provide them with some serious punch.

Cleveland Browns: 4-12

The Browns are a team clearly building toward the future. Their 2014 aspirations took a big hit when wide receiver Josh Gordon’s off-field issues resulted in a full-year suspension, and even though they drafted cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the draft, hopes still aren’t exactly soaring in Cleveland.

Fortunately for them, the Browns have some other pieces that they will be able to build around. Running back Ben Tate is going to be eager to prove that he was worth the team’s investment after they rescued him from perpetual back-up hell in Houston, and cornerback Joe Haden could very well be the best at his position in the NFL.

Adding Karlos Dansby to the mix on defense will also help solidify things on that side of the ball, but even with all of this talent to play with, the Browns still have some work to do before they become legitimate NFL contenders.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox to Honor JRW Saturday, Donates $20,000 to Team]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:14:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JRW_stage_Igram.jpg

The Jackie Robinson West All-stars spent some up close and personal time with the Chicago White Sox 2005 World Series Championship trophy on Wednesday. On Saturday, they'll get even more acquainted with the South Side team.

The Sox announced Wednesday that the Little League World Series U.S. champs will be honored on Saturday during a special pregame ceremony prior to the start of the 6:10 p.m. game versus the Detroit Tigers.

Chicago White Sox Charities will present the team with a $20,000 donation, and all 13 players on the team will be presented with Sox jerseys with their own numbers, autographed by every member of the 2014 White Sox.

The players will also receive a back-to-school package, which includes a White Sox backpack, a copy of "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season," and $100 in school supplies.

Fans at the game will be encouraged to wear gold in honor of the American champs.

Sox officials also announced that the team's Little League World Series U.S. Championship will be commemorated with a special plaque at U.S. Cellular Field to be unveiled during the 2015 season.

"We could not be more proud of the achievements of the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars and how they represented the city of Chicago in Williamsport," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

Six players on the JRW team are part of the White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) program.

Photo Credit: distractyourface/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Cops: Man Sliced CTA Passenger's Face With Hunting Knife]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:49:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kevin+lee+mug.jpg

A South Side Chicago man has been charged after he allegedly sliced a man’s face with a large hunting knife during an altercation on a Chicago Transit Authority bus.

Kevin Lee, 54, of the 7900 block of South Carpenter, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, Chicago police said in a news released Saturday.

Police said the attack took place around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday on a CTA bus in the 0-100 block of West 79th Street in the city’s Chatham neighborhood.

Lee was involved in an altercation with a 36-year-old passenger when he allegedly cut the man’s face with a large hunting knife.

The victim was transported to St. Bernard Hospital where his condition was stabilized, police said.

Lee was expected to appear in bond court Saturday.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[11 Shot at Start of Labor Day Weekend in Chicago]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:09:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SHOOTINGS+LABOR+DAY+1.jpg

At least one person was killed and 10 others wounded in overnight shootings in Chicago as a long holiday weekend began.

Police said a man was killed late Friday night in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood.

A 36-year-old man was found on the sidewalk around 10:45 p.m. in the 5400 block of South Damen Avenue with gunshot wounds to the head and thigh. He was transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County where he was pronounced dead, according to authorities.

At least 10 others were wounded in shootings Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Just after 5 a.m. Saturday, a 28-year-old man was shot in the back in the 2600 block of West 65th Street. The man told police he was sitting outside when someone exited a vehicle and fired a gun in his direction.

The victim fled the scene and collapsed in the 6500 block of South Washtenaw Avenue, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer.

He was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in stable condition.

Around 2:45 a.m., a 47-year-old was shot while sitting in her car in the 8100 block of South Muskegon Avenue. The woman told police she "heard shots and felt pain" when she realized she had been shot in the side.

She was listed in critical condition at Stroger Hospital.

An hour earlier, a 32-year-old man was shot in the arm in the 4400 block of South Archer Avenue. The man was a passenger in a vehicle when he said he "heard shots and felt pain."

He was taken in stable condition to Holy Cross Hospital.

Around 12:30 a.m., a 34-year-old man was shot in the abdomen in the 10900 block of South Racine Avenue. The man was transported to Stroger Hospital in critical condition but was not cooperating with police, Greer said.

On Friday, a 26-year-old man was shot just after 9 p.m. in the 10000 block of South Avenue M. The man took himself to Trinity Hospital with a gunshot wound to the back and his condition was stabilized, officials said. The man was walking on the block when a red SUV pulled alongside him and occupants in the vehicle displayed gang slogans, police said. A man then exited the vehicle and opened fire at the victim.

Ten minutes earlier, a 32-year-old man was shot in the finger in the 4600 block of West Van Buren Street. The man transported himself to Loretto Hospital where he was expected to be treated and released.

Two men were shot around 8:15 p.m. in the 1800 block of South Throop Street. The men were on a sidewalk when they told police a black SUV drove by and someone inside fired shots at them. A 22-year-old man was shot in the leg and was listed in stable condition at Stroger Hospital and a 19-year-old man was shot in the leg and listed in stable condition at Mount  Sinai.

Two men were shot at 7:05 p.m. Friday in two separate shootings.

A 23-year-old man was shot in the foot in the 9100 block of South Yates Boulevard. The man said he was sitting on a porch when someone fired at him from a black SUV. The man was listed in stable condition at Trinity Hospital.

At the same time, a 28-year-old man was shot while sitting on a porch in the 0-100 block of East 101st Street. The man told police he "heard shots and felt pain" and realized he was shot in the buttocks. The man was taken in stable condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center.

<![CDATA[Military Kids Introduced to Community Service]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:37:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Kids+Rank.png Kids Rank is Making A Difference by giving military kids the support they need while their parent or parents are on active duty. As part of their commitment to community service they help out with work on the Freedom Farms For Vets in Wadsworth, Illinois. NBC 5's Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Cubs to Host Jackie Robinson West on Labor Day]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:25:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/199*120/float-llws.jpg

Jackie Robinson West will head to the North Side Monday.

The U.S. Little League World Series champions will be the special guests of the Chicago Cubs as they kick off a 6-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The team will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game and lead the 7th inning stretch from the field.

The game kicks off at 1:20 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar]]>
<![CDATA[Mo'ne Davis Celebrates With JRW in Chicago]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:26:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Mone_Davis_JRW.jpg

The two biggest stories of the 2014 Little League World Series came together Friday night in Chicago.

Philadelphia's female pitching phenom Mo'ne Davis arrived in Chicago Friday night for a series of events with the U.S. champion Jackie Robinson West team.

"Mo'ne Davis is a good friend of us, after the game we beat them we hung out with her for at least three hours, so it's good that she remembers us and is coming back to hang out with us," JRW player Trey Hondras said.

The group ate dinner at Captain's Hard Time soul food restaurant in the Chatham neighborhood.

The meeting was arranged by Jesse Jackson, Sr.'s Operation Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

"In Philly there's a lot of cameras -- but not this many," Davis said, reacting to all the attention.

A "Breakfast of Champions" event will be held Saturday morning for the players, coaches and parents at Rainbow PUSH headquarters, including special tributes from elected officials and educators.

Jackson is calling on government agencies, baseball team owners and community groups to increase support for inner-city baseball programs.

He's also calling on President Barack Obama to host the team at the White House.

Rainbow PUSH Coalition officials say they're also coordinating a trip to Disneyworld for the team next weekend.

The Chicago White Sox will honor the team before Saturday's game at U.S. Cellular Field.

<![CDATA[Donor Helps Homeless JRW Family]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:47:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jaheim_Benton.jpg

Help is on the way for the struggling family of a Jackie Robinson West player.

Days after returning home from a successful Little League World Series, Jaheim Benton was forced to face his own personal reality -- his family does not have a home.

Benton's mother, Devona, said she told few people about the family's plight because she didn't want the focus to shift from the team during its LLWS run.

"It has been hard. I tell him to hold his head up and it's gonna be alright," Devona Benton said. "He's still holding his head up. He's a kid."

Family members have been living in separate homes since July after Devona Benton's hours were cut at work. Jaheim's father works part time.

But even throughout the struggles, the baseball diamond became a refuge for the 12-year-old boy.

"I told him to get out there and play ball, despite him knowing we lost our home, and he got out there and still played. He didn't give up," Davona Benton said.

Business owner Spencer Leak, Jr., of Leak & Sons Funeral Home heard about the family's plight and is paying their rent for one year in a home of their choosing.

"Superstars and homeless don't mix, and for the next year, this star will not have to worry about a house," Leak said.

Jaheim scored the game-winning run in Jackie Robinson West's U.S. championship win.


<![CDATA[New Burr Oak Cemetery Monument Dedicated ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:54:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Burr_Oak_memorial_2.jpg

What a difference a few years make.

Friday morning, five years after the crimes at Burr Oak Cemetery shocked America, the cemetery dedicated a memorial to the tragedy, a de-facto coming-out party, with a heavy dose of hope for the future.

"You know, I can't believe this is the same place we were in five years ago," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, noting that the crimes of Burr Oak took his investigators into totally uncharted territory.

"This was something that we had no playbook for," he said. "There was no one here to guide us on it. This has never happened since, and I hope it never will."

What started as an investigation into financial improprieties grew into ghastly allegations that Burr Oak employees had dug up some 300 graves, reselling the plots and scattering bones in an open field. The alleged ringleader of the plot, Carolyn Towns, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and is serving a 12 year sentence. Three others are awaiting trial.

The alleged crimes shocked African-American families who had been burying loved ones at Burr Oak for generations.

"This wasn't just some plot of land somewhere that had criminal issues," Dart said. "This was holy ground!"

Indeed, as the Burr Oak Memorial was unveiled Friday, Velma Washington Kirby looked on from the sidelines, clutching a picture of her mother who was buried at Burr Oak in 1976.

"We're going to keep our eye on it now," she said. "Somebody dropped the ball, and now we're going to make sure -- all hands on deck!"

Former Judge Patricia Brown Holmes had the unenviable job of overseeing the transformation.

"This was a mess, a terrible mess," she remembered. "We just managed it. We managed it down to the penny."

Appointed trustee over Burr Oak by Gov. Pat Quinn, it was Holmes' job to pay off the bills, and bring the cemetery into habitable, and marketable condition.

"There was a time I thought, 'What did I get myself into?'" Holmes joked. But she hailed a staff which had helped transform the one-time crime scene, into what is now a working enterprise.

Indeed, an open field now stands in the acreage where FBI agents once sifted dirt for human remains. The crumbling office has been replaced by a glittering administration building, with a computerized kiosk replacing the moldy index cards which had become unusable as a method for locating graves.

Last month, sculptor Viktor Boudanaev complained that his design concepts for the memorial had effectively been stolen by the Burr Oak committee. The sculptor showed his initial sketches for the monument, which appeared identical to the finished product. But even that controversy had a happy ending. Boudanaev said he had reached an accord with the committee, where he was given design credit, but citing a confidentiality agreement, he did not elaborate.

"We came to an understanding, " he said. "My contribution as the designer is acknowledged and respected."

Holmes, the Burr Oak trustee agreed, and she cited the sculptor's contribution during the dedication ceremony.

"You know, he helped to design this monument," she said later. "He did!"

Going forward, Burr Oak carries painful memories, but current managers emphasize that it is a real concern, and should have a solid footing for the future. Holmes said the potential for future burials puts the value at $7 million.

"Hopefully Burr Oak will now serve as a national model for honoring the dead," Dart said in public comment later Friday, "rather than a national disgrace."

<![CDATA[Lake Forest Teacher Accused of Sexually Assaulting Student ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:13:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Michael-R.-Vucic-02.jpg

The Lake County Sheriff's Department has issued an arrest warrant for a Lake Forest teacher charged with sexually assaulting a young student.

Michael R. Vucic, 41, is a teacher at Gavin South Middle School, and is believed to have fled to Germany, authorities say.

Police say the female victim, who is under the age of 13, told her grandparents that Vucic had inappropriate sexual contact with her multiple times in 2012.

Vucic is charged with five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and five counts of criminal sexual assault. Bond was set at $1 million for the arrest warrant.

"My office went out looking for him, and we received information from immigration and customs says he boarded a plane for Germany on Tuesday afternoon," Lake County Sheriff's Detective Wendell Russell said. "I think he figured out through Facebook, and that child was going to tell parents."

According to a letter to parents posted on the school district's web site, the victim is a former student at the middle school. Investigators first contacted school officials about Vucic on Aug. 26, but according to the school, Vucic wasn't present that day and hasn't had contact with any students since. He's also banned from school property.

Vucic, who is divorced, had been teaching at the school for 18 years and hadn't previously had any blemishes on his record.

Investigators believe there may be more victims and are encouraging anyone with information to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Department at (847) 549-5200.

<![CDATA[Circle Interchange Renamed After Jane Byrne]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:57:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jane_Byrne_Highway.jpg

A highway interchange near downtown Chicago has been named for former Mayor Jane Byrne.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the new name Friday afternoon for what's known as the Circle Interchange. Its new name is the Jane Byrne Interchange.

Byrne held office from 1979 to 1983. She was the city's first and only female mayor. Earlier in the summer, city officials also proposed naming a park next to the Historic Water Tower after her.

The 81-year-old Byrne, who's in a wheelchair, made a rare appearance at the news conference announcing the name change.

"The coming together of the city of Chicago is what will make it great," Byrne said at the news conference.

Quinn said Byrne broke barriers and the newly named interchange will ensure she'll be remembered. He listed all of the legacy projects completed under her watch.

"Taste of Chicago, Navy Pier, Museum Campus, all of the fests, gospel, blues -- Mayor Byrne had a passion for people then and now," Quinn said.

The interchange connects several major highways near downtown, facilitating travel for more than 400,000 vehicles each day. It was built between 1958 and 1962 and is undergoing reconstruction.

<![CDATA[Grizzly Detail's NFL Preview: AFC West ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:50:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP836051022041_0.jpg

With the regular season just eight days away, Grizzly Detail will be going through our predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions, as well as our picks for the Super Bowl and the various awards available after the campaign.

We’ve already gone through the other three divisions that the Bears will play against this season, so we’ll begin the rest of our AFC previews today by taking a look at the AFC West. Can the Denver Broncos repeat their performance of a season ago? Will the Kansas City Chiefs regress? We have the answers here.

Denver Broncos: 11-5

The Broncos made it to the Super Bowl last season with an historically potent offense and a defense that was one of the best in the league, and even though they were embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks in that game, they still have to be considered one of the favorites to get back to the big game in 2015.

On offense, the team didn’t just stand pat despite having incredible weapons like Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas, as they drafted wide receiver Cody Latimer in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and brought in Emmanuel Sanders from the Pittsburgh Steelers to replace Eric Decker.

Defensively, the team brought in even more talent, signing some of the biggest free agents on the market. Demarcus Ware came over from the Dallas Cowboys to bolster the team’s pass rush, and cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward were signed to shore up the secondary.

With those additions, the Broncos should be right in the thick of things for a second straight AFC title, and with Peyton Manning looking to grab one more ring before he retires, this could be his best chance.

Kansas City Chiefs: 8-8

With a defensively-loaded team, the Chiefs surprised many people last season under the direction of head coach Andy Reid as they made a run to the playoffs. They did lose in the first round to the Indianapolis Colts, but they still have players like Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry there to hopefully propel them on another run.

The big question for the Chiefs is whether or not Alex Smith can replicate his successes from last season. He still will have running back Jamaal Charles in the backfield, but his success will hinge on whether or not Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery can be a good enough receiving tandem to take pressure off the team’s running game.

San Diego Chargers: 7-9

The Chargers are a team that has plenty of question marks heading into the season. They do have a fantastic young wide receiver in Keenan Allen, and Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown are both capable of making up an excellent duo of receivers for quarterback Phillip Rivers to throw to.

One question facing the team is whether or not their running backs will be good enough to take pressure off the passing game. Ryan Mathews has a history of underperforming, and while Danny Woodhead is a great option in the passing game, he’s not that great a back-up if Mathews struggles again.

On defense, the Chargers did get a really talented piece in the draft when they selected Jason Verrett out of TCU, but they will need veterans like Dwight Freeney to step up if they’re going to be successful.

Oakland Raiders: 4-12

The Raiders are a team that haven’t exactly been lighting the NFL world on fire over the past several seasons, and while they probably will continue to struggle this season, they have plenty of players who could be great weapons in the future.

Derek Carr out of Fresno State is one of those players, but the quarterback will be behind Matt Schaub and Matt McGloin on the depth chart to begin the season. Even though rookies like Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are more likely to get starting roles this season than Carr is, he is worth keeping an eye on if the veterans on the team struggle early on.

On the defensive side of the ball, first round draft pick Khalil Mack is going to be a player to watch at multiple positions. He can play defensive end in the Raiders’ 4-3 defense, and he also is capable of playing at the strongside linebacker position. New acquisition Justin Tuck should help out as the youngster gains experience, and he will be a player to watch for the next several seasons.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Quinn vs. Rauner: Who Won the Pseudo-Debate?]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:24:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Quinn_Rauner_4_11.jpg

It wasn't a debate-debate, but Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner's Thursday showdown could be classified as such—the first round in a series of public mud-slinging appearances preceding November's Illinois governor election.

Incumbent Democrat Quinn and Republican challenger Rauner didn't share the stage at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel, where the Metropolitan Planning Council held its annual lunch; instead, each took separate turns taking questions on jobs, housing and the state's financial woes before an audience of hundreds who witnessed the spectacle firsthand. The attacks continued as rivals spoke to the press after the event, ripping one another to shreds.

Who won this round? Let's put it to a letter grade:

Shameless smack talk. Quinn scored big laughs on a question about housing when he referenced multi-millionaire Rauner's luxury real-estate collection, quipping: "I only own one home—I'm running against somebody with nine mansions, but I think it's important to realize that one home (for) everyday people is the No. 1 investment they'll make in their whole life." Doubling down on the income equality issue, Quinn dubbed Rauner "King Midas" for the venture capitalist's proposal to tax services rather than income which would "shift more of the tax burden onto everyday people." Countering, Rauner invoked the unfolding IDOT debacle to paint Quinn as corrupt and full of it: "Unfortunately, Gov. Quinn has a track record of being a phony on reform. He said he was going to reform the patronage at IDOT years ago, and now, as it turns out, patronage hiring under Gov. Quinn has spiked dramatically."

Quinn: C+ because he can do better than "King Midas" ... maybe hire the same folks who wrote President Obama's hilarious Washington Correspondents Dinner speech

Rauner: C because Chris Christie is the master of "Quinn-sults" and Rauner should take lessons in the art of the memorable put-down


Stage presence. Check the video below. Rauner frequently talks out of both sides of his mouth, but he speaks with a lot of authority and projects an aura of decisiveness and competence, as if he's a CEO leading a business meeting. His "smartest guy in the room" schtick enhances his persuasiveness, making some potential voters think "this guy know what he's talking about" even though his pro-business agenda might not be in their best interests. Quinn, meanwhile, looks like a deer caught in headlights. Perpetually. And his blustery awkwardness undermines his message.

Quinn: C for "get thee to a media trainer"

Rauner: A for "confident mansplaining"


Two things you didn't know about Bruce and Pat! Moderator Craig Dellimore introduced the contenders with a "fun fact" submitted by each. Rauner sometimes eats pie for breakfast! Quinn dunked a basketball (twice) back in '68. These are weak, guys. Next time give us something that's actually interesting? (I had pie for breakfast this morning and would never bring that up otherwise. Because it's not conversation-worthy.)

Quinn: B+ for the amusing mental image

Rauner: D for LAME


Composite Score:

Quinn: B-

Rauner: C+

<![CDATA[Danville Teacher Busted for Child Porn]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:36:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/computer2.jpg

A Danville middle school teacher was jailed last week for allegedly hoarding hundreds of pictures of child pornography, according to reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that  the 58-year-old  Diablo Vista Middle School teacher was arrested Aug. 22 after police executed a a warrant at his home where they found "more than 600" pictures of kids engaged in sexual activities.

He's in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

None of the teacher's students are believed to have been involved, according to a spokesman for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, which has been placed the teacher on leave.

The teacher has taught math at Diablo since 2002, the newspaper reported.

<![CDATA[Bears Roster Begins to Take Shape as Cuts Roll In]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:58:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/171*120/jordan+lynch+bears+getty.jpg

With the NFL roster deadline looming at 3 p.m. central time on Saturday, the Chicago Bears are slowly cutting loose 23 players, and Grizzly Detail will keep you up to date on which players are hitting the bricks, and which will be hitting opposing players in Week 1 of the regular season. 

The Bears made a couple of minor moves early in the day, but then news broke that they had decided to part ways with a player many fans were rooting for, with running back Jordan Lynch reportedly being waived by the team: 

Lynch, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a quarterback for Northern Illinois, could still be a member of the Bears if the team elects to use one of their 10 practice squad slots on him, but he has to first clear waivers. If another team claims him, he'll be placed on their 53-man roster. 

As it stands right now, the Bears have 71 players on the roster, as they've made four total cuts so far today. First on the block was reserve offensive lineman Rob Turner: 

Tight end Jeron Mastrud was also released, leaving the Bears with three tight ends on the active roster (Matthew Mulligan is another borderline player, with Martellus Bennett and Dante Rosario both safe): 

The Bears also made the decision to release wide receiver Armanti Edwards, further signaling that they are looking at keeping Santonio Holmes on the roster after his solid performance on Thursday night. 

We'll continue to update the roster as cuts roll in. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vehicle Plows Into House, Garage in West Chicago]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:39:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/car+into+garage.jpg

A man was airlifted Friday morning from a neighborhood in West Chicago after his vehicle struck a home and plowed through an attached garage.

Police said the vehicle crashed into the residence at Colford and Oakwood avenues at about 9:37 a.m.

Video of the scene showed the car flipped over and partially inside the garage, which had separated from the home in the crash. Debris was scattered across the yard.

The man who rents the home, who asked not to be identified, said no one was inside at the time. He said the car sheared off his dining room where his kids were eating breakfast just a short time earlier.

Witnesses said the driver was going about 80 mph to 100 mph leading up to the crash.

The man had to be extricated by the fire department, police said. He was flown to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

His condition was not immediately known, and police said the crash is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Suburbs Make List of "Best Suburbs for Education"]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:04:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/northwestern-iron-gate.jpg

A Chicago suburb has been named one of the best suburbs for education in the country.

Movoto Real Estate has released a list of the top 50 suburbs for education in America and Evanston snagged a top spot on the list.

Researchers gathered data from more than 100 different suburbs in the U.S. using criteria like student-teacher ratio, money spent per year per student, high school graduation rate and GreatSchools.org or test score ratings.

Evanston ranked no. 7 on the list and was cited for having some of the highest test scores and a high school graduation rate of 91 percent.

The top-ranking suburb in the country was Newton, Massachusetts, followed by Plymouth, Minnesota; Ellicott City, Maryland; Minnetonka, Minnesota; and Dublin, Ohio.

The only other Chicago-area suburb to make the list was Skokie, which ranked at no. 12.

<![CDATA[Opinion: Taking Emanuel’s Money Could Have Political Costs]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:29:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/emanuel-boston.jpg

Imagine this: You live in a ward where feelings against Mayor Rahm Emanuel are high, and you want to run for alderman. Of course, you know running a campaign is hard, and requires a lot of money. 

One day, an email from a PAC called Chicago Forward arrives. It contains a series of questions from a powerful politician you know has a boatload of money. All you have to do, it seems, is agree to back some key positions on some of Chicago’s most pressing issues that are important to this politician, and hopefully, some checks supporting your campaign will start to flow.
What do you do?
Since this is Chicago, what you would likely do is tell the politician you agree and take the money and run. That’s how it’s been done in Chicago for decades, with aldermanic challenger after aldermanic challenger aligning himself or herself with the fifth floor of City Hall and then basking in the glow of photo ops and campaign financing.
But, since this is Rahm Emanuel we’re talking about, such a decision today might not be so easy to make.
After all, this is a mayor with only 35 percent approval rating in the city he rules over. As well, he’s actively disliked across large sections of town, particularly among black and Hispanic voters. Let alone some unions, those affected by crime, public school supporters and who knows what else.
Chicago Forward is raising millions of dollars by touting itself as being “actively engaged in the 2015 municipal elections supporting candidates who demonstrate a shared commitment to policies and priorities that will continue to move our city forward.” Recently, the group sent out an e-mail to potential aldermanic challengers asking them where they stood on topics such as charter school expansion, an elected school board, increasing in the minimum wage and the likelihood of raising city property taxes.
The email promises for the select few, the PAC will launch “a series of targeted communication campaigns ward by ward and city-wide to get our message out to voters through television ads, radio ads, mail, and phone communications.”
Answer how the Emanuel campaign likes for all of these issues, and you could be a part of this largess.
The bad news for anyone filling out the form is that down the road once campaign season really starts, being seen as aligned with an unpopular mayor and taking his money could turn out to become a political liability instead.
If I was an incumbent alderman who’s opposed to the way Emanuel is running the city—say, a member of the eight-member strong Progressive Reform Caucus—or an aldermanic challenger looking to unseat an incumbent who’s cozied up to the mayor in the past, the first part of my campaign platform would be to tar my opponent as someone in the pocket of an increasingly unpopular mayor.
As well, if I was a candidate who suddenly had a well-financed fellow challenger, I’d tie the source of his campaign financing to Emanuel every chance I got.
As 2nd Ward alderman and frequent Rahm critic Bob Fioretti points out, the questionnaire also all but predicts a property tax hike is coming down the pike for already hard-hit Chicago taxpayers. That’s a tough burden to shoulder for a first time candidate to take on as a policy position.
But there’s another potentially steep political cost a candidate could suffer if it comes out he or she is being supported politically or financially by an unpopular mayor.
Most political observers and media types have so far seen Chicago Forward as a tool the Emanuel campaign will use to help elect more “friendly aldermen” in Chicago’s City Council.
But, just for the sake of conversation: what if it’s not?
Assuming the Emanuel campaign is looking to further stack the deck in his favor in City Council somewhat assumes Rahm sees his re-election campaign as a strong bet. Only by betting that you’re likely to win can you start looking down the road to how to make your next administration even easier in City Council than it already is.
We don't know what the Emanuel campaign is seeing these days in terms of internal polling or other methods of gauging his electoral chances. We do know he reads the news, and much of the reporting on his chances these days seems a bit grim.
For all we know, Chicago Forward might not be an attempt to stack the deck as much as it could be to create a bulwark in wards where he could easily lose the popular vote. In that scenario, an unpopular mayor like Emanuel needs well-financed candidates to maintain his control of Council.
Or avoid looking like he got slaughtered in, say, black and brown wards across the city.
Back in the old days, a powerful mayor found potential aldermanic candidates through word of mouth and identifying those who worked hard in a strong political infrastructure made up of precinct captains, committeemen and incumbents. That way, he knew from the start they were on his side and willing to work on his campaign as much as he was willing to work on theirs.
So what does it say about the Emanuel campaign that it has to go out and send an email questionnaire just to rustle up enough candidates willing to sign up to a potentially unpopular agenda before he even agrees to support them? 
<![CDATA[Fire Chief Details Multiple Injuries in O'Hare Bus Crash]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:47:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008610245_1200x675_323154499556.jpg Fire Chief Timothy Sampey provides the latest on a shuttle bus crash near O'Hare Airport. The bus crashed into a median around 6:30 a.m. just before Terminal 1.]]> <![CDATA[Driver Cited in O'Hare Bus Crash That Injured 15]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:46:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/bus+crash+ohare.jpg

A bus driver has been cited after at least 15 people were injured when a shuttle bus crashed on Interstate 190 near O'Hare Airport Friday morning.

The accident blocked traffic and forced some travelers to walk to the airport heading into one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Queshonyas Eubanks, 43, was cited for failing to produce a driver's license and failing to remain in her lane.

The shuttle bus crashed into a median around 6:30 a.m. just before Terminal 1, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Police and fire officials, citing preliminary information, said 15 people were injured in the crash.

Fire Chief Timothy Sampey said the driver of the bus was left pinned by the crash and rescued by an airport employee and a firefighter, who witnessed the accident while on his way to work.

That firefighter, identified as Rory Williams, was also hurt during the rescue, but his injuries were non-life threatening, officials said.

"He wouldn't stop [treating passengers] until he was ordered to go to the hospital," Sampey said.

Robert Gembala, another firefighter who also witnessed the crash, immediately rushed onto the bus and began assisting injured passengers.

"It was unbelievable what they did," said firefighter Steve Siavelis, who was on the first truck to arrive at the scene.

Injuries varied, Sampey said, with passengers at the front of the bus experiencing the greatest impact.

"People were thrown around the bus," he said. "Some were more critical than others."

Fire officials said four people were transported in critical condition, five in fair-to-serious condition and four in good condition. Two people refused treatment.

At least 10 ambulances were called to the scene and victims were reported to be taken to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Resurrection Medical Center, Swedish Covenant Hospital, and Loyola University Medical Center.

Sampey said fluids were leaking from the bus following the crash. Details surrounding the cause of the crash were not immediately available.

With traffic blocked by the crash early Friday, some heading to the airport ditched cars and began walking along the freeway to the terminal.

Sampey said several ambulances were delayed by passengers walking along the shoudler attempting to make their flight.

"People were basically bailing on their vehicles in an effort to get to their flight," he said. "It’s understandable but at some point in time we had to gain control of them to get them off the shoulders where the emergency vehicles were trying to get to the scene."

The crash threatened to snarl travel plans for some of the millions of people hitting the roads and sky for Labor Day weekend. The Chicago Department of Aviation expects to see more than 1.2 million passenger at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport in the days surrounding Labor Day weekend.

Airport officials said Friday was set to be the busiest travel day of the holiday weekend with about 225,000 passengers traveling at O'Hare.

Photo Credit: Sky 5/NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Off-Duty Paramedic Delivers His Daughter on Chicago Expressway]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:41:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/baby+mary+lynch.jpg

An off-duty paramedic delivered his daughter on a Chicago expressway early Friday morning, officials said.

Daniel Lynch and his wife Elizabeth Lynch welcomed their baby girl Mary Margaret Lynch around 5 a.m. Friday.

Daniel was taking Elizabeth, who was in labor, to the hospital via Interstate 94 when she began having her baby.

"When I was about to get into the car, I said I don't know if we're gonna make this," Elizabeth said.

The couple left their Edison Park home around 4 a.m. and got onto the Edens Expressway at Touhy, but they didn't make it very far.

"At that point it was very obvious I was going to deliver a child on the shoulder of the road," Elizabeth said.

Daniel, who works as a paramedic, delivered the baby girl in the front seat of the minivan, then drove his wife and child to Evanston Hospital.

"Including this baby, this is the first one i've ever delivered," Daniel said.

The couple named the baby girl Mary, who was born healthy and weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

This is baby number five for the family -- and likely their last.

"We're done. We went out with a bang with her," Elizabeth said.

<![CDATA[Honoring Chicagoland's Fallen Heroes]]> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 20:11:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/american-flag1.jpg NBC Chicago salutes the men and women in the armed forces who have died in combat.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Labor Day Weekend Travelers to Hit Chicago-Area Roads, Airports]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:40:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/177*120/Chicago+Traffic.jpg

Millions of people are expected to hit the roads and the sky to travel for Labor Day weekend.

The Chicago Department of Aviation expects more than 1.2 million passengers at O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport between Friday and Tuesday.

At O'Hare, officials project more than 950,000 passengers will travel over the holiday, a 5 percent increase compared to 2013. Friday is expected to be the busiest travel day with about 225,000 passengers.

Midway also expects a 5 percent increase in passenger volume this year with nearly 320,000 passengers over the weekend and 74,000 Friday.

"We are ready to provide the 'best in class' service to [passengers] and showcase all that our airports and our city have to offer,' CDA Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said in a statement.

Live entertainment is scheduled to take place on stages at both airports from 2-5 p.m. Friday and airport ambassadors at Midway Airport will offer complimentary lemonade to travelers throughout the weekend.

For the many Chicagoans driving during the holiday weekend, there’s some bad news at city gas pumps.

An explosion at a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana has prompted an increase in gas prices ahead of the weekend and they’re expected to continue rising through next week.

Gasbuddy.com predicts a three- to six-cent increase in prices by next week.

BP America spokesman Scott Dean confirmed that the Whiting refinery experienced "an operational incident" at about 9 p.m. Wednesday on the refinery’s north end. The fire was out by 11 p.m. and an "all clear" was issued about 20 minutes later.

AAA reports prices in Chicago sit at $3.62 per gallon as of Friday morning, an increase of 2 cents since Thursday.

The national average is reported to be $3.43 per gallon.

TripAdvisor.com predicts 44 percent of Chicago-area residents will travel for the holiday weekend, and 71 percent of those people will drive.

The Illinois Tollway Authority expects $7.2 million people traveling on the tollways over the weekend, an increase from the last two years.

Friday is expected to be the busiest day with about 1.8 million people on the tollway, 400,000 more than the average number of drivers.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is suspending all road work for the holiday weekend and Illinois State Police is planning for extra patrols.

Several travelers will also be flying for the holiday weekend travel.
Nationwide, about 35 million people are expected to travel, a large increase from recent years where travel declined thanks to a recession.

TripAdvisor.com reports that 30 percent of people will visit a city this weekend, 23 percent will go to a lake, and 16 percent will visit a beach or ocean.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Joliet Woman Found Guilty in Brutal Double Murder ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:10:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bethany-McKee.jpg

A Will County judge has found Bethany McKee, one of four suspects in the brutal murder of two men in Joliet, guilty of first-degree murder.

Judge Gerald Kinney issued the guilty verdict Friday morning, despite the fact that McKee wasn't present in the room during the killings.

McKee, 20, is one of four people charged in the January 2013 deaths of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22. Police say the victims were lured to the house, robbed and strangled, and then the suspects played video games until police arrived.

"[McKee] assisted the other individuals by helping place a Jewel bag over the head of Terrance Rankins and holding a lamp so that the bag could be placed on the victim's head," the ruling stated. "She also seemed upset in her interview when she realized there was more money stolen from these victims that (sic) she was told. She volunteered to search the vehicle of Eric Glover and removed from that vehicle stuffed animals and CDs, apparently for her use or her child's use."

Closing arguments were conducted earlier this month with defense attorney Charles Bretz arguing there is no evidence linking McKee to the murders.

Prosecutors showed the videotape of McKee's police interrogation in which she's heard saying she "knew what was going on" and "we can just beat them up and kill them."

But McKee's attorney pointed out that the tape also shows her saying she didn't remember what happened that day.

Also charged, but still awaiting trial, are Adam Landerman and Joshua Miner, both of Joliet. McKee’s former friend, Alissa Massaro, pleaded guilty to robbery and concealment of a homicidal death in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence and testified against McKee in the trial.

Glover's mother, Nicole Jones, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse earlier this month.

"I think she should get life just like the rest. I think she should get life without parole. That's what I think she should get," Jones said. "They took the best thing that ever happened to me ... their sisters and brothers away from them. They took the best person that we had and they destroyed my family."

A sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 16.

<![CDATA[Sick Chicago Boy Stars in His Own Movie]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:26:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Madzilla.jpg

Make-A-Wish Illinois helped grant a unique wish for a 5-year-old boy Thursday.

Maddex was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013, and while undergoing his cancer treatment, the Chicago boy bonded with his father and grandfather over the monster movie "Godzilla."

The organization helped to make a sci-fi adventure movie starring Maddex called "MADZILLA!"

The film was premiered Thursday night at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, complete with a blue carpet reception and plenty of pomp and circumstance.

"He knows what he wants," "MADZILLA!" director Jonathan said. "His pitch that I got for what he wanted in the movie, to take a bit out of a train, bus or a car. To scare civilians."

"He's well beyond his years -- he's 5 years old, going on 6. He's like a 30-year-old," producer Mo Wagdy said.

Maddex (pictured, right) performs his own stunts in the movie and even gets to devour a taxi with Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the wheel.

The boy also got to meet the director of the real Godzilla movie, Gareth Edwards, another wish that came true on a magical night.

"When they see that that many people care about them and want to make something happen for them, and want to listen to what they're thinking about and make it come to life, that's pretty awesome," Illinois Make-A-Wish CEO Stephanie Springs said.

Maddex will also get an invite to visit the set of the "Godzilla" sequel when it goes into production.

<![CDATA[Illinois Loophole Allows Felons to Work at Carnivals]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:15:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Alex-James-Jacquart.jpg

It is possible for a sex-offender -- even a murderer -- to work at a carnival or amusement attraction in Illinois, and there's virtually no way for state inspectors to know about it, NBC 5 Investigates has found.

NBC 5's three month long investigation shows that the Illinois Department of Labor -- the agency tasked with inspecting every nut and bolt of the state's 3,000-plus rides and attractions, from the largest roller coaster down to the smallest bouncy house -- must do that job with only four full-time inspectors for the entire state.

And though state officials insist that carnival-goers are safe, NBC 5 Investigates has found one instance that raises questions about how closely these amusement companies are required to be monitored, and just who is allowed to work at fairs and carnivals across Illinois.

On a Saturday last September, a 21-year-old man named Blayne Benefield took some family members to the Heritage Days festival in Farmer City, Illinois, a town of 2,000 people located just off Interstate 74 about halfway between Champaign and Bloomington. The annual four-day celebration featured a car show, a 5K race, and a free ham and bean dinner for fair-goers.

The festival also featured a carnival, and Big H Amusements -- located up the road in Fairbury, IL -- was hired to operate the midway and amusement area. Big H brought in big rides like the Zipper, where riders are whipped around and turned upside down, and gentler rides for little children, such as one called the Safari Train.

Benefield's young relatives were on the Safari Train when he snapped a photo of the ride, with a carnival employee standing in the background. Authorities believe the man in that photo is also the man who now -- along with his brother and fellow carnival employee -- stands accused of murdering Benefield just hours after the picture was taken.

"Once you had Blayne for a friend, you had a friend for life," says Cherri Benefield, Blayne's mother. She and her husband Bard learned of the murder the next morning, after Benefield's body was found near a green fence off the main street in downtown Farmer City. It's the same green fence seen in the photo Benefield took at the carnival.

Bard Benefield says police told him that his son had been stabbed and strangled in a botched robbery attempt. Police quickly arrested Alex and James Jacquart, two brothers from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, who were both employed by Big H. Both had criminal histories. Alex, in fact, pled guilty in 2011 to felony sexual assault of a child. When he was working for Big H in Farmer City last September, he had a warrant out for his arrest on a theft charge.

So how was it that two men with criminal histories - including one who had pled guilty to the sexual assault of a child -- were allowed to work at carnivals in Illinois?

All ride operators at all Illinois carnivals are supposed to pass a criminal background check. But NBC 5 Investigates has learned that state law says those checks should be entrusted to the carnival operators -- not the state. State inspectors are only supposed to make sure the checks were donem not do them themselves.

IDOL Director Joe Costigan admits that the process is a kind of honor system. "But it's a system [where the operators] know that we can go in any time and inspect the records," he says.

And in the case of Big H, that is exactly what inspectors did. NBC 5 Investigates has learned that Big H disclosed both brothers' names to state inspectors, who'd reviewed Big H's rides and staff lists several times earlier in 2013 in order to give them a permit to operate in Illinois. But according to Ryan Culton, who manages the IDOL's Carnival and Amusement Ride Division, Big H listed the brothers simply as employees - not as ride operators.

That's an important distinction, because Illinois state law mandates that only the actual operators of amusement rides are required to pass criminal-history checks, and then only to make sure they have not been convicted of murder or specific sex offenses. Other convictions are not prohibited under state law. And Culton confirms that state law exempts other carnival employees -- those who run the midway games or the food stands, for example -- from any criminal-history check.

And that was the case for James and Alex Jacquart, Culton says. Inspectors didn't check up on their criminal histories because Big H didn't list them as ride operators, and therefore didn't run them for criminal background information.

Big H hung up the phone when NBC 5 contacted the company for comment.

Both brothers are now charged with Benefield's murder, and both have pled not guilty. One brother's trial will begin in the next few weeks.

Since last September, the murder, arrest and upcoming trials have all been in the news, including the fact that the Jacquart brothers were working at a carnival at the time. But NBC 5 Investigates has learned that neither Culton nor Costigan, had any knowledge of the incident until just weeks ago, when NBC 5 first contacted the department for information on Big H's inspection.

"We learned this from you," Costigan told NBC 5.

Could that be because of the relatively small number of inspectors tasked with the state's amusement rides? NBC 5 compared Illinois' staff of four to the staffs for several other large states. In Ohio, there are eight full-time inspectors -- in addition to one supervisor and one chief -- to inspect 3,589 rides. That's nearly twice the staffing, per ride, as Illinois. According to New Jersey officials, the state has 17 inspectors for 3,329 rides - roughly four times the staffing as Illinois. California lists seven inspectors to check approximately 2,200 rides, and the state is working to fill a vacancy for an eighth.

Despite the small staff, both Costigan and Culton insist that their inspectors get the job done.

"We do the best that we can, with the people that we have," said Costigan. NBC 5 Investigates reviewed a year's worth of work records and time sheets for the four state inspectors, and found they spend an average of 2-1/2 hours per day, out in the field, inspecting rides, with an average inspection time of 45 minutes per ride.

But Costigan also confirms that the department has gotten approval to add a fifth full-time inspector, who is currently in training, and that the Illinois General Assembly may give approval to hire a sixth full-time inspector within the next year.

As for the minimal requirements for background checks in Illinois state law, Costigan points out that a small number of communities have started requiring their own background checks for amusement operators, as an extra layer of protection for carnivals and fairs in their towns. The state says those communities include Round Lake, South Elgin, St. Charles, Palatine, Morton Grove,Burbank, Algonquin, West Chicago, Carol Stream, Lombard, and Libertyville.
"The Illinois Department of Labor is working to enact legislation that will require background checks of all individuals hired by carnival and amusement ride companies in Illinois," Illinois Department of Labor spokeswoman Anjali Julka said in a statement.

<![CDATA[Santonio Holmes Looms Large in Bears Loss]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:57:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bears_Santonio.jpg

Chicago Bears wide receiver Santonio Holmes made a case for making the team Thursday night.

The former Super Bowl MVP caught a 32-yard TD pass from rookie David Fales and returned a punt 30 yards in the Bears 33-13 exhibition loss over the Cleveland Browns.

Holmes, only signed with the Bears on Aug. 16, is trying to catch on with the Bears after four turbulent seasons with the Jets. He was released in March following two sub-par, injury-plagued seasons. The 2009 Super Bowl MVP with Pittsburgh hasn't played a complete season since 2011, and made just 43 receptions in the past two seasons.

Holmes, 30, showed he's still got some breakaway speed on his TD grab. He hauled in a short pass from Fales, spun away from rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert and scampered into the end zone untouched for a 10-7 lead.

"You see the explosion in him," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "He caught a short throw, turned and ran, separated from the defense. That's a good sign."

Trestman rested starting quarterback Jay Cutler and backup Jimmy Clausen, giving Fales, a sixth-round pick from San Jose State, a chance to convince the Bears they should carry three QBs.

Fales made a good case for himself, finishing 13 of 24 for 146 yards.

Bears rookie running back Jordan Lynch, a star quarterback at Northern Illinois, had 18 yards on six carries. He's a long shot to make Chicago's 53-man roster.

On the other side, Brian Hoyer can take a deep breath. His pressure-packed preseason ended positively.

Hoyer drove Cleveland's starting offense to a rare preseason touchdown before turning things over to rookie Johnny Manziel in the Browns' 33-13 exhibition win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.

Hoyer and Cleveland's offensive starters needed a boost after struggling in the preseason as they learn a new system. Hoyer went 6 of 8 for 69 yards on the opening drive against Chicago's backups before Ben Tate scored on a 1-yard run.

For Cleveland's first-team offense, it was just the second TD this summer, and even if it came against some players who won't make Chicago's roster, Hoyer will take it.

"It was great to get out there and just move right down the field," said Hoyer, who barely beat out Manziel for the starting job. "We said tonight wasn't about them. It was about us. Regardless of who's playing for them — they were nameless and faceless opponents — we just wanted to go out and make everything about us. It's good to go down and get in the end zone."

Manziel threw a TD pass, finished 6 of 17 for 83 yards, ran for 55 and did some typical Johnny Football improvising.

Manziel scrambled around, skipped some passes, fumbled twice and provided some entertaining moments.

"Falls into the category of Johnny being Johnny," Pettine said. "A couple of those plays were no, no, no, yes - but that's what he does. He's certainly shown why he has the reputation that he does."

Browns undrafted rookie running back Isaiah Crowell had a 48-yard TD and finished with 102. Billy Cundiff made four field goals for the Browns (1-3).

Pettine had little choice but to play his starters in the fourth preseason game following a horrific performance in a loss to St. Louis.

Hoyer and Cleveland's offense were desperate for a positive of any kind with the season opener against Pittsburgh just 10 days away. And the first unit's 13-play, 85-yard march was something to build upon.

"It just shows us what we're capable of, and that's what's been the frustrating part this preseason," Hoyer said. "To go out there and just do it against a different team is important. It's a good feeling heading out of the preseason."

On Wednesday, the Browns learned they'll be without Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, suspended for the season for another violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Cleveland loses its best player and only deep threat.

The Browns could be forced to trade for a wide receiver. But Nate Burleson should help. He played for the first time in the preseason and caught a 27-yarder from Manziel, who danced around in the backfield and dodged several Bears before throwing a strike to Burleson. That play set up Manziel's 1-yard toss to tight end Jim Dray.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frank Thomas Breaks Ground on Suburban Restaurant]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:34:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/frank-thomas_statue.jpg

Frank Thomas is getting into the restaurant business.

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Thursday for Big Hurt Brewhouse, the Hall of Famer's new restaurant in Berwyn.

The restaurant is located at 6801 W. Cermak Rd. in a historic bank building. It will be open to the public this fall.

The eatery and sports bar will feature Thomas' Big Hurt Beer, a menu featuring items prepared on a wood-fired grill and of course, plenty of big-screen televisions.

A bronze statue of Thomas will also be located at the restaurant.

Thomas joked even Cubs fans will be welcome at the restaurant.

<![CDATA[Bears 2014 Preseason Action]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:28:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bears_Santonio-2.jpg The Chicago Bears tune up for the 2014 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Simulated Surf Park Planned for Montrose Beach]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:43:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chicago_surf_1.jpg

Lake Michigan isn't exactly known for its surfing, but aficionados may soon have another way to catch a big wave in Chicago.

K.C. Hoos of Chicago Surf is attempting to build a SurfStream machine at Montrose Beach, which provides a simulated surfing experience. But the contraption wouldn't be actually located in the water, it would be located on dry land in a planned surf park with a beachside cafe and a 7,500 square foot patio (pictured, right).

"A lot of people come here already. It's a huge park, huge beach with volleyball, kayaking, jet skis and now we are adding a surf park," Hoos said.


Crews were drilling on Thursday to test the soil, and if the city signs off on the project, construction will begin in autumn.

"It's a stationary spray pool that you can surf on top of it. It's on a real surf board, and you can adjust the speed, so it simulates actual surfing," Hoos said.

Chicago Surf from Chicago Surf on Vimeo.

Hoos says the best thing about the SurfStream, made by American Wave Machines, is that you don't have to know how to surf to use it. It can create up to 6-foot multiple wave patterns.

"It's safe enough for young kids to professionals," Hoos said. "You can stay laying down like a boogie board, then you work your way up to kneeling, and then you eventually stand up."

The Chicago Park District allows year-round surfing at Montrose and 57th Street beaches. You can also surf at Osterman and Rainblow beaches between Labor Day and Memorial Day, however because of the challenging waves, surfers are responsible for their own safety.

Hoos, who used to live in South California, says by the time the waves get big enough to surf in Chicago, the water temperature is too cold. Plus, he says safety isn't an issue with the surfing machine.

"It's in a controlled environment. You don't have sharks, you don't have to swim out past the waves, it's not cold water. It's a win-win," Hoos said.

Chicago Park District officials say they're close to an agreement, and if all goes according to plan, the simulated surfing machine could be up and running by next summer.

Photo Credit: American Wave Machine]]>
<![CDATA[Ald. Bob Fioretti Crowd-Sources Possible Mayoral Run]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:22:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bob_Fioretti_4-14.jpg

With all the buzz about Karen Lewis possibly running for Chicago mayor, it's sometimes easy to overlook 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti—another vocal critic of Rahm Emanuel—as he too considers whether to throw his hat into the ring.

Fioretti has long eyed the mayorship and this election cycle is no different. His antipathy toward Emanuel, whom he accuses of attempting to dismantle the City Council's Progressive Caucus, has reached fever pitch as the mayor's deep-pocketed super PAC stages a campaign to form strategic alliances with aldermanic candidates in an apparent bid to push out progressives—and keep Emanuel in office.

While Lewis, the fiery Chicago Teachers Union boss, pops up all over town participating in get-to-know-Karen Q&As at local restaurants, Fioretti has begun conducting informal focus groups of his own accord. 

"Over the last several months, I've been traveling our city and talking to voters about the future we want to see for Chicago," Fioretti told supporters in an email Tuesday, circulating a petition to crowd-source demand for his candidacy.

"After nearly 200 meetings with community groups, congregations and civic leaders, I am close to a decision on the best role I can play in moving our city forward. But before I make this important decision, I want to hear from you. Should I run for mayor of Chicago?"

Fioretti has since been active on Twitter, bashing Emanuel and retweeting messages of support and news headlines of the "Will He Run?" variety.

He was heartened perhaps by the recent Chicago Tribune poll showing Emanuel's job approval rating at an all-time low and Lewis leading the mayor in voter support. Asked about a potential Emanuel/Fioretti match-up, survey-takers favored the mayor 43 percent to Fioretti's 26 percent. Still, the Trib took the alderman's unexpectedly high numbers as a "sign that there's a sizable contingent of anyone-but-Emanuel voters."

Fioretti's ward, the 2nd, was gutted and rendered unrecognizable in a re-map two years ago amid his protests and allegations of political retribution; the new boundaries won't officially be drawn until 2015.

While Emanuel wants to hike the minimum wage from $8.25 to $13, Fioretti and Lewis are aiming to raise it to $15.

Should both progressives challenge Emanuel, there's a chance the pair—who appeal to different segments of anti-Rahm voters—could together draw down the incumbent Democrat's percentage of the vote, regardless of Emanuel's multi-million-dollar war chest.

"We're looking forward, we're putting the team together, and we're seeing what we need to do," Fioretti recently told the Chicago Reader of his plans, which involve a "listening" tour. "Rahm's base will vote—that 30 percent out there—and of course there are dollars and cents."

<![CDATA[Reds Steal 7-2 Win Over Cubs]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:53:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Cubs_2014_55.jpg

Jake Arrieta wishes he would've held onto the ball a bit longer.

Billy Hamilton stole his 51st base and the Cincinnati Reds swiped six in all, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Thursday.

The Reds stole six times in the first four innings, using six hits and four walks to build a 6-0 lead against Arrieta (7-5).

All six steals came at second base. Cubs catcher John Baker wasn't able to throw out anyone.

"I was bad at holding the runners. That's my fault," Arrieta said. "I wasn't giving Baker an opportunity to throw them out."

"I've got to vary my times better at holding the ball. They were aggressive on the bases and at the plate. They were able to get good reads and good jumps," he said.

Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier each stole twice, and Kristopher Negron added one more.

Cincinnati stole three in a three-run second inning and two in a three-run fourth.

Arrieta had seven good starts and a rain-shortened outing coming into the game, but let the Reds run wild in his four innings.

"Jake actually had good stuff," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "His command wasn't very good. He didn't have his Jake-like command."

Controlling the running game hasn't been a problem for him until today.

"If that was the case, you would've seen it all season," Renteria said."

Cubs rookie Jorge Soler doubled and singled in his second major league game and drove in a run. He homered and singled in his debut on Wednesday.

Dylan Axelrod (1-0) pitched five scoreless innings and struck out eight.

The Cubs managed just two hits against Axelrod. Chicago scored twice in the ninth.

The Cubs made two errors one of which led to an unearned run.

"The last couple of games have been a little rough for us," Renteria said. "We have to play clean baseball. Axelrod mixed up his pitches and kept us off-balance."

Hamilton set the tone right away. He drew a leadoff walk in the first and stole second on the next pitch.

Hamilton went 2 for 2 with a double and walked twice. Dee Gordon of the Dodgers began the day leading the majors with 58 steals.

Negron and Cozart each stole and scored in the second. Cozart and Frazier both stole and scored in the fourth.

Cozart had three hits, including a double, and scored three times.

Reds relievers Pedro Villareal and Logan Ondrusek combined for three perfect innings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[11-Year-Old Girl Describes Attempted Luring]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:03:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Christine_luring.jpg

A community alert has been issued in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest side after a man tried to lure three girls away Wednesday.

Police say at about 6:30 p.m. in the 5700 block of West Belden Street, the children -- aged 9, 10 and 11 -- were walking home from a park close to where they go to school when they were approached by a man who tried to lure them down an alley using cash as bait. The girls ran away.

The 11-year-old child, Christine, is still rattled by the experience.

"He had looked at us and he was like, "Come, come," and he said it twice," Christine said. "He pulled out money and he kept on coming closer. Every time we were stepping back. I told them to run and we all ran."

Christine says she immediately called her grandmother who called 911.

"It looked like he was trying to kidnap us," she said.

Police say the man they're looking for is known to frequent a nearby McDonald's at the corner of Central and Fullerton.

He's described as a Hispanic male between 6-feet and 6-feet-2 inches tall with straight black hair, a white beard and a raspy voice. He was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and black boots.

Chritine's grandmother, Millie Strabac, is now re-thinking whether to ever let the kids walk to and from school without an adult.

"I normally walk her to the school, pick her up from school, but on the nice days I let her walk to the school with her friends, but now I have to think twice about it," Strabac said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chicago Police Department.

<![CDATA[Evergreen Park Mayor Tells of West Nile Virus Survival]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:35:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mayor+sexton.jpg

Two years ago, Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton got flu-like systems that wouldn't go away. He continued to get weaker and his fever kept going up.

It turned out to be a severe case of West Nile virus that landed him in intensive care for two weeks.

"Severe weakness, a lot of confusion and fever," Sexton said. "The swelling of the brain was mid-week, and it didn't look good at that point, but the hospital did a wonderful job and got it under control." 

Sexton survived and now he and his family tell the story in two videos produced by the Cook County Health Department.

As Labor Day approaches, Sexton's story serves as a reminder to be on the lookout for symptoms.

In the Chicago area, most infections happen around this time of year. There's a two-week incubation period, and most people don't know when or where they were bitten.

"It lets people know this is real," he said, "that it happened to somebody. It could happen to you."

Sexton said it was a slow road to recovery, but he's glad to be back, to his family and his constituents.

"I can't believe that you could lose all those functions that quickly," he said, "because I needed help out of the bed, to the bathroom, into the wheelchair." 

Dr. Terry Mason at the Cook County Department of Public Health warns that little tubs of water, like bird baths and plastic swimming pools, are a feeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mason encourages residents to repair screen doors to make certain bugs can't get through holes.

And the big thing: "Make certain you put on a repellant that contains DEET."

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bears vs. Browns: 5 Questions to Answer ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:17:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/453788746.jpg

When the Chicago Bears take the field on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, some of the team’s most pressing questions will take a back seat. For at least three hours, there won’t be talk over whether or not Jay Cutler is worth his contract, or if Lance Briggs is going to be able to play at a high level this year, but instead the talk will center on the team’s reserve players and position battles.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of five questions that will be answered during the game, ranging from the resolution of position battles to taking stock of where certain players are after training camp and four preseason games.

Has Santonio Holmes Picked Up Enough to Get a Roster Spot?

One of the big questions coming into training camp for the Bears was whether or not Marquess Wilson could grab the third wide receiver position in the lineup. Unfortunately, an injury ended up robing him of his chance for that role, and the Bears signed Santonio Holmes in the hope that he could fill in while Wilson recovers from clavicle surgery.

The question for Holmes now is whether or not he’s picked up enough of the Bears’ offense to be a big contributor when the regular season gets underway. The team wanted to ease him in last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but he should get a steady diet of targets in this game, so it will provide him a great opportunity to showcase his talents.

Who Will Finally Win the Kick Return Battle?

With Michael Ford and Eric Weems both being released already, the Bears are burning through kick returners like credit cards at Macy’s. Shaun Draughn is going to get a real chance to earn the job on Thursday night, but Chris Williams is going to get some chances as well as he tries to finally make his way back into the lineup after pulling a hamstring against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first preseason game.

Are Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson Ready for Prime Time?

The defensive tackle spots are pretty much locked down, with Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea tabbed as the likely starters. The question we’d like to see answered tonight is just how much progress the two rookie tackles have made in this preseason. Sutton is going to be a key pass rusher up the middle for the Bears, and Ferguson is going to be a run stopper, so it’ll be nice to see where they’re at in their development.

What Kind of Progress Has David Fales Made?

Fales is going to play a big chunk, if not all, of the game on Thursday night, so seeing where he’s at in terms of his development as a game manager and whether he’s confident in making his throws will be something to watch for.

Is this Johnny Manziel Guy Worth the Hype?

Brian Hoyer is going to start the game for the Browns at quarterback, but Manziel will play at least some of the contest as well. The rookie lost the starting job competition last week, but it will still be neat to see one of the most hyped rookies in the league is capable of doing instead of just hearing about it on ESPN.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Tollway Drops Price of I-PASS Transponder]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:33:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ipass-highway-sign.jpg

If you don't have an I-PASS transponder, now is the time to get one at a discount.

The Illinois Tollway's board of directors voted Thursday to temporarily lower the cost of transponders from the current $50 or $60 to $30 for drivers opening a new account. The discount comes ahead of the Tri-State Tollway Interchange opening in October. 

"We want to make sure all of our residents who use the Illinois Tollway can benefit from the advantages offered by I-PASS,” Gov. Pat Quinn said.

Tollway officials said the deposit required for new customers to get a transponder will permanently be reduced from $20 to $10 starting Oct. 1. If you open an account before Dec. 31, the initial pre-paid toll amount and the minimum rate to replenish accounts will be reduced from $40 to $20.

Existing customers can request to have the minimum rate to replenish their account reduced from $40 to $20.

Customers must either call 800-UCI-PASS or visit one of the Illinois Tollway’s Customer Service Centers to take advantage of the offers.

“The new I-294/I-57 Interchange is another example of the Illinois Tollway Board’s commitment to improve the Tollway system and enhance access for our customers, as well as communities and businesses,” Tollway Board Chair Paula Wolff said. “So, it only makes sense to make I-PASS more accessible to customers who will be using the interchange.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Michael Kappel, flickr.com]]>
<![CDATA[High-Ranking Chicago Cop Charged in Brutality Case]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:31:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Glenn_Evans-2.jpg

Despite being stripped of his powers, a Chicago police commander brought up on felony charges that he placed the barrel of his revolver in a man's mouth while holding a Taser to the man's groin doesn't need to surrender his weapons, a Cook County judge ruled Thursday.

Cmdr. Glenn Evans, one of Supt. Garry McCarthy's closest aides, was charged with aggravated battery and misconduct as a result of a complaint from a January 30, 2013 arrest.

At a court hearing Thursday, Judge Laura Sullivan ordered Evans released on his own recognizance without having to post any cash or property and denied a prosecutor's request that he surrender his firearms. If he fails to show up for a future court date, Evans could forfeit the $100,000 bail.

Evans is the commander of the Harrison District on the West Side of the city, but was working in a south side district when the alleged incident occurred. According to details revealed in the prosecutor proffer, Evans claimed he saw then 22-year-old Rickey Williams on the 500 block of East 71st Street with a gun. Evans chased Williams into a home, tackled him, and then shoved his pistol into Williams' mouth and threated to kill him if Williams didn't say where he'd put the alleged gun. Additionally, prosecutors allege Evans held a Taser to Williams' groin.

Evans and other responding officers took Williams into custody but no gun was ever found, prosecutors said.

Williams was later charged with a misdemeanor offense of reckless conduct based upon his alleged possession of a gun, but that charge was dropped on April 24, 2013 when officers failed to appear in court to testify.

A day after his arrest, Williams filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority describing the incident. IPRA on Feb. 1, 2013 ordered Evans to turn in his weapon for forensic testing.

DNA from Evans' weapon came back as a match to Williams more than two months later and IPRA recommended that Evans' police powers be stripped.

Evans' next court date was scheduled for Sept. 18.

The commander's name is among a list of 662 officers with more than 10 misconduct complaints
between May 2001 and May 2006, according to records the city released last month. There were 14 complaints lodged against Evans. None resulted in disciplinary action.

NBC Chicago reported in May 2012 that Evans was among a small group of officers who have been repeatedly accused of police brutality and misconduct, resulting in millions of dollars in payouts of tax dollars to settle.

After court Thursday, Cook County Sheriff's Office deputies snuck Evans out of a locked exit which, for security reasons, is rarely opened. A spokesman for the sheriff's office said that action wasn't authorized and that the officer or officers involved would be disciplined.

Illinois Department of Corrections records show Williams was released on Aug. 1 on parole from the Pontiac Correctional Center on felony convictions for possessing marijuana and violating electronic-monitoring terms. 

<![CDATA[Judge Throws Out Koschman Lawsuit Against Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:22:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Koschman_7596502_722x406_2177124074.jpg

A federal judge on Thursday threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Nanci Koschman, the mother of 21-year-old David Koschman, who died from a single punch thrown by former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, R.J. Vanecko, in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said the complaint was filed too late and the statute of limitations ran out.

"I'm certainly disappointed," Koschman said, "but not for me - for David. His death and the investigation into that fateful night was handled so poorly. People were allowed to lie to the police, records were lost and then suddenly found, records were taken home, records were altered to create the illusion that it was David's fault and people hid behind their political connections. They treated my son with absolutely no dignity."

Attorneys for Koschman filed the civil rights lawsuit in Federal District court in March, saying officers of the Chicago Police Department fabricated evidence and covered up facts in order to protect “the entire Daley dynasty."

Defendants included Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, her predecessor Richard Devine, 21 former or current members of the Chicago Police Department and “Daley family members.”

"They say I took too long to file," Koschman said. "I was told I had no recourse due to how famous and wealthy the people where and how they'd keep me tied up in court for years. I had no financial resources to take on people with power. I spent each day trying to figure out how to get thru that day and the next without my only son. I waited until some good people came to help me but I guess it was too late."

Vanecko pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single count of involuntary manslaughter, only after being charged by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb.
Koschman’s attorneys said the initial 2004 investigation began and ended in a matter of hours, once it became clear Vanecko was involved.
“Higher-ups in the police department were saying, “holy crap, the mayor’s nephew may be involved,” Bowman said.
“From the moment that CPD commanders learned of Vanecko’s involvement” the lawsuit contends, “the Chicago Police Department’s handling of the case, as well as that of other agencies…became an official cover-up.”
According to the lawsuit, video from cameras along Division Street, where the punch was thrown, went unchecked. Detectives “set out fabricating evidence” to make David Koschman appear to be the aggressor, the suit alleges, and police and prosecutors destroyed and altered evidence in “sham investigations” in 2004 and in a 2011 reinvestigation.
“There should be something done so that another person who gets hit somebody famous doesn’t have to suffer like I’ve had to suffer,” Nanci Koschman said.