A 25-year-old nanny who was critically injured when a city Department of Streets and Sanitation pickup truck operated by a reportedly drunk driver struck her and seven others on a Gold Coast sidewalk in May spoke publicly about the incident for the first time in a press conference Tuesday.
According to NBC Chicago, Jennifer Anton has had 11 surgeries since the crash, which took place on the afternoon of May 21 at the corner of Rush and State Streets. Still in a wheelchair through at least the end of the next year, Anton is now suing both the truck's driver, Dwight Washington, and the city for damages including her mounting medical bills.
"I'm still months away until I'm back being me. I"m very independent," Anton said Tuesday, as reported by NBC Chicago.
(Scroll down for video of the press conference.)
Speaking of the incident, she recalled pushing the stroller containing the one-year-old girl in her care at the time -- Tyler Jones -- out of the vehicle's path in the seconds before the truck struck them. The baby was not seriously injured in the crash.
According to Anton's law firm, Corboy & Demetrio, they are also pursuing counts against the city of Chicago for negligent supervision of their employees in the lawsuits they have filed. They have obtained an order of protection asking for the city to turn over any surveillance videotape, Washington's personnel file and any evidence found in the truck to be inspected.
“Any time a driver is negligent and someone is severely injured, it is tragic,” attorney Dan Kotin said in a Corboy & Demetrio press release. “But when you add the eyewitness accounts of the driver’s apparent intoxicated condition and the criminal charges brought against him, the conduct becomes reprehensible and can certainly create a great deal of outrage.”
Washington, 61, was fired and charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence and bodily harm, two counts of misdemeanor driving under the influence, carrying an open container of alcohol, reckless driving and failure to reduce speed after the crash. An open bottle of brandy was reportedly found on the passenger's seat of the truck Washington had been driving and police indicated that he had a blood alcohol level of .183 at the time of the incident.
The crash, incidentally, has prompted two aldermen, Ed Burke (14th) and Patrick O'Connor (40th), to call for random drug testing of all city employees.
The city has yet to publicly comment on the pending litigation.
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