WEST LOOP — A west suburban driver accused of killing a 22-year-old pedestrian in the West Loop Sunday intentionally drove into the man after the two had argued outside a nearby club, prosecutors said Friday.
Joseph Verdone, 25, was ordered held without bond Friday. He has been charged with first-degree murder. About 5 a.m. Sunday, he drove a car onto the sidewalk in the 100 block of North Ogden Avenue, hitting and killing Enrique Martinez, prosecutors said.
The crash occurred around the corner from The Mine Music Hall, 1431 W. Lake St., prosecutors said.
Verdone and his girlfriend were kicked out of the club for being part of a group that started a fight inside, prosecutors said. Verdone and his girlfriend were let back into the club to look for his girlfriend’s heels and purse, which was left behind; when they could not find them, they were escorted out by security, prosecutors said.
Verdone and his girlfriend returned to the club in Verdone’s car to again look for the lost items. Security let Verdone’s girlfriend into the club, and she was kicked out for “acting irate inside,” prosecutors said.
As the woman was being removed from the club, Martinez, who was standing outside the entrance, made “some sort of remark” to Verdone’s girlfriend, prosecutors said.
That led to Verdone and Martinez “briefly exchanging heated words” before Verdone drove away, prosecutors said. The exchange was captured on surveillance video, prosecutors said.
Martinez and an unidentified man were walking south on Ogden Avenue when Verdone slowly maneuvered his car onto the sidewalk behind the pair, centered it and drove full speed into Martinez, prosecutors said. The man who was with Martinez jumped out of the way and was not injured, prosecutors said.
Verdone hit Martinez, dragging him 60 feet without stopping, prosecutors said. Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack was caught on surveillance video, prosecutors said.
Verdone’s car had been freshly washed but still showed damage from the impact and had blood on the undercarriage when authorities tracked it to his home, prosecutors said.
Verdone, of suburban Hillside, was arrested Tuesday.
A Facebook fundraiser was set up for Martinez’s family to give him “the memorial he deserves.” It has raised more than $4,610 as of Friday afternoon.
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