Firefighter Patrick Bruce, 45, charged in Tinley Park crash that killed Anais Knox, 25, of Downers Grove

March 4, 2013 3:58:25 PM PST
Bond was set at $250,000 for Patrick Bruce, 45, who is charged with speeding and driving recklessly in a crash that killed Anais Knox.

Police say Bruce, who works as a full-time firefighter in Orland and part-time firefighter in Crestwood, struck two vehicles near 167th Street and Lockwood Avenue in Tinley Park just before 2 p.m. Friday.

Knox, 25, of Downers Grove, was killed. She and her stepfather were on their way to buy a car with her tax refund when their vehicle was struck by Bruce's Lincoln Navigator. Knox died a short time later.

"It just shot straight into our car," Eric Hopper, stepfather, said. Knox's family was in court for Bruce's bond hearing.

Bruce is charged with reckless homicide, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and reckless driving. His attorney left court without comment Monday afternoon.

Investigators say Bruce admitted to taking prescription pain medication before the accident. He's been on duty injury leave for eight months because of a shoulder injury.

Orland Fire Protection Chief Brucki released a statement, that read in part: Our condolences go out to the family of the victim. The accident investigation is in the capable hands of police. . . We cannot comment further."

Knox, whose family and friends called her Ana, was taking online college courses and wanted a career in human resources.

"Her personality was so bright," Candice Savage, cousin, said.

"She was innocent. She didn't do anything wrong," Tenika Knox-Johnson, victim's sister, said.