Cabbie Charged in Fatal Crash Has Long History of Moving Violations

Attorney: John Kesse has no criminal record

The family of a man killed when a Chicago cab driver allegedly blew through two red lights on the near north side in August says the tragedy left them hoping for justice.

Eric Kerestes died August 14th when a cab driven by 60-year-old John Kesse plowed through the intersection of Ogden and Milwaukee, striking Kesse as he stood at a bus stop nearby. Police say the victim was thrown 200 feet, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kerestes was a native of downstate Bloomington. He was married and studying for his MBA at the University of Chicago.

"As a result of this reckless act, we have lost a beloved son, husband, and great friend," Kerestes’ mother Carol said Monday. "He was a wonderful human being, who did not deserve to die at such a young age, in such a violent way."

Kesse faces reckless homicide charges, along with a variety of traffic infractions. But an investigation by our Unit 5 investigative team indicates he already had a long list of previous violations.

Since 1988, the year after he received his chauffeur’s license, court records indicate Kesse was charged with 33 different moving violations. He was assessed nearly $700 in fines. But outside court Monday, his lawyer noted that he was driving on a valid license when the August accident occurred.

"He’s had a City of Chicago chauffeur’s license since 1987," said attorney Bruce Rafalson. "It’s never been suspended or revoked. He has no criminal record. He has no contact with the criminal justice system."

But court records indicate Kesse has had plenty of contact with Illinois courts. Unit 5 found he had been named as a defendant in at least four personal injury suits, not including the two he faces from this most recent tragedy.

"He was an exceptionally kind, caring person, who made, and would have continued to make, the world a better place for all of us," his mother said. "It is our hope that as we heal and continue to remember Eric, that justice will be served."

Rafalson asked the court to continue to preserve the cab, which he hopes to examine for mechanical failure.

"If we intend to use an expert at trial we have to disclose that," Rafalson said. "There was a court order last time ordering the state to preserve that evidence, and we’re looking at a chance to have somebody look at it, and see if any evidence can be gleaned from it."

Kesse returns to court October 15.

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