CHICAGO – Motorist, 57, apparently irritated by ‘yuppies with dogs’ allegedly shouted anti-Asian comments before hitting a group of friends enjoying a birthday picnic, seriously injuring a woman in Logan Square, witnesses and officials said.
The crash happened at around 5:15 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Logan Boulevard when a red pickup truck jumped off a sidewalk and climbed onto the median of grass between inside and outside Logan Boulevard before colliding with at least an adult pedestrian, female, according to Chicago Fire Department Chief Walter Schroeder and police spokesman Anthony Spicuzza.
She was taken in serious condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Schroeder said.
Her friends said a woman briefly got trapped under the truck, a Ford F-150, and said she was conscious and spoke while being treated at the scene. She was released from the hospital late on Saturday night, her friend Rob Lopez said on Sunday morning.
The group of friends – around 10 people, some with dogs – said the man briefly argued with them before attacking them, angered by the presence of “yuppies with dogs” on the boulevard.
One of the people in the group said the man shouted anti-Asian comments at a party member before pulling the truck towards them.
The incident was being investigated as a felony, not a specific hate crime, a Chicago Police spokesperson said, citing preliminary information that may change. While mobile is under investigation, a recent study by watch groups has shown an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in US cities, possibly due to the origin of COVID-19 in China, and sparking concern and protest from Asian Americans and their allies.
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. An “interfaith rally” to speak out against racism and crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, commonly abbreviated as AAPI, was organized by leaders of various faith communities and was scheduled to be held Sunday at noon in Uptown.
“All churches, temples and synagogues in Uptown have been invited to contribute to the planning as well as Asian American community organizations from Uptown,” according to a press release from the event.
Charges against the man were pending at around 9 p.m.
There was a passenger in the truck, who was handcuffed when police arrived, but witnesses could not be sure if he had shouted at the group and police reported only one arrest – the driver .
Nick Lau, 33, a resident of Logan Square who lived a few feet from the scene of the crash, told the driver “his unsolicited comments were not welcome” and waved him back. ‘a disdainful air.
At that point, according to Rob Lopez, another picnic, the man shouted “f —— Asians” or “fucking Asians” at Lau, who is Asian.
The comment escalated the arguments, and the man eventually hit the gas, hopped his truck onto the sidewalk and slammed into the picnic, hitting and trapping the woman, witnesses said.
Lau said he didn’t hear or remember the alleged racial comment, but said he wasn’t initially hostile to the man, he just wanted him to go.
“I heard 100% ‘Asian’, that’s what stood out,” Lopez said. “We’re a multicultural bunch, just hanging out. He said that, and that immediately – “f — out of here, f — off” whatever, “Lopez said, indicating that the comment made him angry and uplifted the game from screaming. their friend, the man, tried to escape, the picnickers said, pulling on his engine.
A Yeti cooler stuck under the truck prevented the spinning wheels from touching the ground and moving the truck forward, possibly saving the lives of their friend and those around the cab of the truck.
They said a pregnant woman was almost hit by the vehicle. “We’re going to tell Yeti that the cooler saved our friend’s life,” Lopez said.
Picnic enthusiasts said they kept the motorist trapped in the taxi as he tried to escape on foot before police arrived, within minutes, and jailed him.
Photos from bystanders apparently showed the man in handcuffs with blood on his face.
Picnics, sunbathing, even concerts on the medians of the boulevard are commonplace in good weather, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Logan Square Farmers Market is held along the south side of the street during the summer and fall.