chicago news

76-year-old veteran's carjacked vehicle crashed into building on busy West Town street

Cellphone video showed the aftermath of the crash, including two people running from the vehicle. "They were 10 feet away from a lot of people eating lunch. They were really lucky actually."

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A 76-year-old veteran was carjacked at gunpoint, Chicago police said, and his stolen vehicle was discovered hours later in West Town after it plowed into a building near a busy intersection.

Cellphone video taken by an eyewitness captured the aftermath of the crash Thursday afternoon, including two people running from the vehicle.

"We hear the tires, but we didn't see the car crash, but we heard the crash, but I'm looking around and I'm thinking, 'Wait a second,'" said the witness, who asked us not to use his full name.  

The witness said he was in the area with a friend and documented the aftermath. He initially posted the cellphone video on TikTok.

"I went over there when I was suspicious: Where was the car?" he said. "I started recording. I was, like, 'This thing could be in the building right now,' and sure enough it was."

Police said the driver of the vehicle was turning northbound before slamming into the vacant property near Ashland Avenue and Cortez Street. It happened Thursday afternoon on a busy block with restaurants and other businesses.

"They were 10 feet away from a lot of people eating lunch," he said. "They were really lucky actually."

Investigators said the vehicle was reported stolen Thursday morning around 8 a.m. NBC Chicago learned from witnesses the victim was a 76-year-old veteran. Police said he was carjacked by an armed suspect in the 600 block of East 92nd Place.

"It’s very sad that it had to be a veteran," said another witness, who wanted to remain anonymous. "It's sad because it could have been their parents or their grandparents."

It's unclear if the two guys seen running from the vehicle are connected to the carjacking on the city's South Side. Witnesses said the veteran was on the scene of the crash talking to police.

"I think a lot of people are waking up right now," he said. "We all got to stick together, be really aware."

He added, "I still love Chicago. I ain't going anywhere, and we all got to be aware of our surroundings, but lead with love, and we're going to be alright."

The property owner told NBC Chicago off camera he was home on the second floor when the crash happened. The building below is vacant. No one was hurt.  

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