Fernando Jasso Perez, 23, lives just a block from where Tsering Dorjee was struck as he and his brother-in-law crossed the street in the 6400 block of North Maplewood Avenue around 6 p.m. Monday, according to police.
Perez was also charged with failure to report an accident resulting in death and failure to report an accident resulting in an injury. Police said Perez has never had a driver's license.
Dorjee had spent the day helping his brother-in-law find an apartment for his family, expected to arrive from India next month. Around 6 p.m., he and Dakpa Jorden were crossing the street on their way to get food when they both were struck by a dark blue Volkswagen that kept on driving, police said.
Dorjee, 44, was pronounced dead late Monday night at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Jorden suffered a broken leg and was also taken to Saint Francis Hospital.
I'd be willing to make a sizable wager that Perez is here illegally. Perhaps he crossed the border as an adult, but there is also an excellent chance he arrived with his parents during his childhood. Especially in the latter case, he would be a man living between an enormous rock and a very hard place: a de facto American who is an illegal in his home and a legal citizen of another country where he isn't at home.
Given the time of day and the location of the accident, I doubt Perez was doing anything especially reckless when he hit the pedestrians. Traffic there crawls, bumper to bumper, and loads of people are walking every which way. It can be confusing. It was probably just a tragic perceptual lapse.
My guess is that Perez would have had a driver's license and wouldn't have fled if he were here legally. I understand that Chicago police officers tend to give unlicensed, illegal aliens a break for smaller infractions behind the wheel, but if they're called to an accident or the driver does something seriously wrong (e.g., DUI), the police won't give them a pass.
I've been rear-ended twice in the neighborhood where this accident occurred, Rogers Park, by unlicensed, probably illegal immigrants--once 12 years ago and another time 17 years ago. The driver wasn't doing anything crazy in either case; just momentary lapses.
In the first accident, the driver was a kid, probably about age 18. He cried while we waited for the police to arrive. He was still with the police officer when I left, so I don't know anything about his fate. I felt absolutely terrible afterward.
In the second accident, I was hit by a man with his wife/girlfriend and a couple of kids in his car. He worked at a body shop, so we worked it out without involving the police. If I can help it, I'll not play a part in a husband and father's deportation
Support for a a bill granting illegal immigrants in Illinois the opportunity to obtain a driver's license is gaining steam and may be presented to the Illinois General Assembly. Personally, I favor granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens in Illinois because most drive and, in any case, few get deported. I'd rather they learn to drive properly and drive insured vehicles.