Bond set at $400,000 in deadly hit-and-run

March 26, 2012 2:10:42 PM PDT
A 21-year-old woman is charged with DUI and reckless driving in a crash that killed a Northwestern University law student. Bianca Garcia allegedly fled the scene.

The victim, 32-year-old Jesse Bradley, was crossing the intersection at LaSalle and Division, police say, early Saturday when he was struck by an SUV driven by Garcia. She did not stop, officials said, and was picked up a few months later.

Garcia is charged with DUI and reckless driving, police said, and cited for driving without a license or insurance, and going the wrong way down a one-way street. On Monday a judge set her bond at $400,000.

Bradley worked part-time at a Gold Coast-area Starbucks while in law school. His co-workers have been consoling each other since the news of the crash.

"He was a great guy. It's hard to think he's not coming back. Yeah, it's hard," co-worker Jenna Fiedler said.

"He was fun. He always went out of his way to help you out. He would even do stuff outside work," said co-worker Robert Laverne.

"He was a decent guy, kept to himself. He was quiet, an unfortunately, it seems like it happens to the good ones," said neighbor Peter Minor.

The accident took place within earshot of Bradley's apartment building. The sound of the crash was so loud, it woke up some neighbors.

"I heard the screech. I thought someone hit one of these cars out here. I ran out and looked to see what it was and looked out and didn't see any cars around, and you could see the gentleman's body in the street," said Corbin Mack, also a neighbor.

The vehicle driven by the suspect was a Jeep Liberty. Authorities say they caught up with the driver a block away from the scene of the crash when they saw the vehicle going the wrong way down a one-way street.

According to police, Garcia did not have a driver's license, nor did she have insurance. In addition to the hit-and run, she faces additional several charges, including driving under the influence and traffic violations.

Some of those living in the Old Town area say Bradley's death highlights the dangers of the intersection.

"I try my best to wait until there's no cars and then cross, but people do drive awfully fast," one woman told ABC7 Chicago.

Jesse Bradley was set to graduate from Northwestern this summer. He was planning on pursuing a career in corporate law. Instead, his family is planning his funeral.

"He had a wonderful sense of humor, always made all of us laugh," said Fiedler. "I'm glad someone was caught, but both families I'm sure are suffering today."

The 21-year-old woman was scheduled to appear in bond court Monday.

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