JEFFERSON PARK — A Jefferson Park family says a woman threatened them before driving her SUV into their yard, destroying half of their garden and hitting a neighbor’s car — all because they have been critical of the area’s alderman.
At 7 p.m. Friday, a woman in a gold Ford Explorer SUV drove by the family’s house near the intersection of North Miltimore and North Menard Avenues and cursed at Noreen Czosnyka, who was outside her home tending to her garden, said Noreen’s husband Pete Czosnyka. Pete Czosnyka is a vocal critic of Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) and runs the neighborhood Facebook page NWS Examiner.
The woman said Noreen Czosnyka should tell her husband to “stop following the alderman,” Pete Czosnyka said.
About nine hours later, at 3:15 a.m. Saturday, the Czosnykas’ dog began barking and the family heard loud music and screeching, Pete Czosnyka said. They went outside and saw a woman driving over their garden and into their yard multiple times.
Upon further investigation, the couple confirmed the woman was a vocal supporter of Gardiner, who has disagreed with Pete Czosnyka’s political views on Facebook.
Czosnyka said he tried to confront the woman, who was yelling with her window rolled down, before she reversed and drove off, yelling, “Bye, Pete.”
The incident, which was caught on video, shows the woman driving onto the lawn before driving away. She then turns around in what looks like an attempt to “come back for a final F you,” Pete Czosnyka said — but instead she hits a neighbor’s car, turns around and leaves.
The Czosnykas said they were able to identify the woman based on her car and social media comments and told police her identity.
Block Club is not naming the woman since she has not been charged with a crime.
Police said officers were called to the Czosnykas’ house early Saturday, but no one is in custody and the incident is being investigated.
Pete Czosnyka said he’s argued with supporters of the alderman in the past, but until this weekend he’d never experienced a targeted attack. He plans to file for an order of protection against the woman.
Gardiner’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
The Czosnykas, who have lived in the Northwest Side neighborhood for decades, are known for their garden, which is filled with native plants and home to monarch butterflies, grasshoppers, birds and bees. In 2019, the couple received a $600 fine from the city, accusing them of failing to maintain the parkway.
Pete sued the city to escape the fine and prove that he did maintain his garden — and won because the city had not proven its case.
The damage to the garden will cost at least $500, Czosnyka said. Block Club was not immediately able to reach the owner of the car that was damaged.
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