Police question person of interest in hit-and-run that killed Cook Co. correctional officer

July 19, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Nikkii Bostic-Jones, 38, of Plainfield, was headed to work at the county jail when she was struck and killed in the 2900-block of South California.

The correctional officer is survived by a 6-year-old daughter and a husband of seven years. Her family says she loved her job and enjoyed sports and cycling.

Investigators have been searching for the driver who struck and killed Bostic-Jones. She was walking across the street just before 11 p.m. Wednesday. She was reporting to work at the Division 10 maximum security building when a driver hit her and fled.

A police source says the person of interest is a Chicago man in his 50s with a criminal rap sheet including three domestic batteries.

Police sources tell ABC 7 tonight they have recovered the van believed to be involved last night's crash.

This van matches a witnesses' description from the scene - it's blue with stripes, and the license plate number that the witness gave police was only one digit off from this van's plate.

Neighbors say the man who owns this vehicle is under arrest tonight.

"He was being questioned by the police, they were looking at the vehicle, they were taking pictures, they were looking under the tire and things like that," said Arlene Bajjali, a neighbor, who confirmed that the man was taken into custody.

Although neighbors say the man has a girlfriend, no one answered the door tonight. One of the man's friends, Enrique Lozano, tells us that he was with him, working on a vehicle, right before the crash.

"You know, working and having a few drinks, not all crazy and stuff," said Lozano. Asked to confirm that they were drinking, Lozano said: "Beers, you know, beers."

Lozano says his friend told him about the crash afterwards. Asked if the friend felt like he hit something, Lozano said: "Yeah, but he didn't see nothing, so he kept on going."

Police sources tell ABC7 the man in custody lives in the Little Village neighborhood.

"From what I hear...the driver deliberately ran into her," said husband James Ray Jones. "I just wish it was a dream. I wish I had my wife back."

After the van hit her and fled, investigators say that Bostic-Jones became pinned under another car, a Cook County sheriff's squad car. She was rushed to Mount Sinai but died at the hospital.

"A role model for everybody. She raised me and my little brother, and she actually helped other people out in their life to be where they are now," said Tamika Bostic, victim's sister.

Jones-Bostic's co-workers say they are devastated.

"She was wonderful, sweet, caring, thought about her co-workers, looked out for her officers. I knew for a fact that she was a loving mother and wife and will be dearly missed," said correctional officer Sentwali Smith.

"It's very, very upsetting. When I saw it this morning on the news, it struck me," said correctional officer Tia Holmes.

Correctional officers have to cross a parkway between the parking lot and the jail, there is no stop sign nor a crosswalk. The union that represents the correctional officers is demanding one.

"There is a bus stop, too, so I mean not just us that work for the county, regular people that come visit and have to travel back and forth," said social worker Shauna Freeman.

Smith said he remembers how Bostic-Jones trained him to be a correctional officer.

"Our lives are constantly put at risk at this job, and you have to know that that person sitting next to you, that person behind you, that person on the radio will be there for you," he said. "She was definitely one of those people."

"Nikkii Bostic-Jones was an amazing person. Anybody you talk to, you find out that she was incredibly well known because of her heart and dedication," said Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart.

The officers' union says it will fight to have Bostic-Jones death classified as "in the line of duty."

A memorial vigil will be held for Officer Bostic-Jones on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 7:00am in front of Division 10.

Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to call the Chicago Police Department Major Accidents Unit at (312) 745-4521. The Illinois State Crime Commission is offering a $1,000 reward for tips that lead to the offender's arrest.

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