Murder Charges Filed After Man Run Over by Own Car

Sunday, Jun 5, 2011  |  Updated 8:44 AM CDT
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Murder Charges Filed After Man Run Over by Own Car

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Murder charges have been filed in the death of a man who was run over by his own car early Thursday on the Southwest Side.

It happened in the Brighton Park neighborhood, and police said it may have stemmed from a disagreement over a television set.

Lazaro Zapata, 24, of 4138 S. Albany Ave. was charged with one count of first degree murder in the death of Raul Medina, police said. Two other people who had been in custody were released without being charged.

Zapata, who was arrested at 2 a.m. Thursday at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, is scheduled to appear in court later Sunday, according to police.

But Chicago police and a tearful witness gave conflicting details over the death of Medina, 41, who was fatally run over by his own car about 12:30 a.m. Thursday in the 4000 block of South Kedzie.

An autopsy Friday determined Medina died of multiple injuries from a car striking a pedestrian, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. His death was ruled a homicide.

The incident involved some type of argument over a television, police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.

During the dispute, two male suspects pulled the man out of his car and beat him, police said.

The suspects then got into Medina’s vehicle, drove onto the sidewalk and purposefully struck him, Greer said.

Medina, of the 2100 block of S. Albany Avenue, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital at 2:35 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

The suspects were arrested a short time later, police said.

But the sister of one of the two men being questioned tells a very different story, saying it was her brother who ran after the car, in which his girlfriend was being held against her will and beaten.

She said the problem began when the other woman in the car, a relative of Medina, accused her brother of stealing a television. The woman and a man then kidnapped her brother's girlfriend and threatened to hurt her unless the TV was returned, she said.

When Medina took off in the car with the women in the back, one beating the other, the woman's brother gave chase on foot, and was joined by a second man who heard the commotion, she said.

At some point the car stopped on Kedzie, and the men started fighting in the street. At that point, the sister said, her brother jumped in the car to save his girlfriend, who was badly beaten, and Medina was struck as he tried to drive away.

"He wanted to get her out of the car and when he saw his chance he got in and took off," she said.

Police, however, said Medina was intentionally run down.

Police would neither confirm nor deny details of the woman's story, saying only that the investigation was ongoing.

The woman said police had earlier been called to the Albany Avenue address, but never responded.

"If the police had come out in the first place, we would not have a dead man in the street on Kedzie Avenue," she said. "This should never have happened."

Wentworth Area detectives are investigating.

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