A Chicago man has been charged with attempted murder after driving his car to a picnic, police say. Witnesses said the man also made anti-Asian comments during the incident, according to local media.
Timothy Nielsen, 57, was arrested on Saturday and faces charges of four counts of attempted murder after “intentionally jumping off a sidewalk in his vehicle and driving over a group of pedestrians gathered for a picnic,” according to the Chicago Police Department.
Police said Nielsen hit a 42-year-old woman with her truck before she was briefly trapped under the vehicle. The seriously injured woman was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for “lacerations and other injuries and has since been released,” according to the police department.
Nielsen parked his car near a group of people celebrating a birthday with a picnic on Saturday, the Block Club Chicago reported. Prosecutors and witnesses said Nielsen complained about the bad behavior of the dogs in the group and became increasingly hostile, the publication reported. When the group asked Nielsen to leave, he backed up and then sped the truck towards the group.
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Rob Lopez, one of the picnickers, told the Block Club he overheard the driver making anti-Asian comments to his friend, who is of Asian descent.
Nick Lau, an Asian-born picnicker, told the Chicago Tribune that the driver shouted an anti-Asian insult.
Prosecutors did not mention the anti-Asian comments at a Monday bond hearing and instead said Nielsen told a neighbor he was “annoyed by the yuppies” who were with their dogs, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Cook County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Nielsen was scheduled to appear again on May 10 after a judge ordered him to be held without bail.
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Nielsen is accused of riding on bikes, chairs and a cooler and hitting a person trying to escape before hitting the woman who fell and was trapped under the car, according to Block Club. The cooler lodged under the truck, preventing it from continuing to move forward and allowing the woman to escape, prosecutors said, according to Block Club.
Prosecutors said when witnesses tried to pull Nielsen out of the truck, he swung a knife and scratched someone’s arm, the Block Club reported.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Nielsen previously pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping in 1989 after posing as a police officer before beating and holding a man for ransom. The newspaper also reported that Nielsen once admitted to breaking glass near the eye of a man who had suffered a head injury and a gash that required five stitches. He was also convicted of extortion in 2001 and retail theft in 2012, according to the Sun-Times.
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chicago man drives picnic truck, woman seriously injured; police