SOX PARK — A hit-and-run driver accused of badly injuring four people outside a White Sox game this week was driving without a valid license and ignored his passengers when they tried to warn him that people were in the street, prosecutors said.
Condelarious Garcia, 20, was charged with four felony counts of aggravated reckless driving and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license in the hit-and-run crash that injured four people Tuesday evening. Garcia also was given three citations, police said.
At Garcia’s court hearing Thursday, Cook County State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt shared more details about the crash, but what led up to it is still unclear.
Driving near 328 W. 35th St., just outside Guaranteed Rate Field, Garcia ignored traffic officials directing cars, sped up and plowed into two men and two women crossing the street to the ball park, prosecutors said. Garcia slammed into the victims even as passengers in his car yelled at him that people were in the street, Dale-Schmidt said.
One of the fans, a 64-year-old man, was “propelled into the air, face first, into the sun roof” after being hit, prosecutors said. Garcia did not stop while the victim was hanging upside down inside the sunroof, prosecutors said.
One witness inside the car told police they tried to pull the victim inside after he was dangling from the sunroof, Dale-Schmidt said.
After the crash, police chased Garcia as he kept speeding east toward the entrance of the Dan Ryan Expressway, police and prosecutors said. Garcia then crashed headfirst into the median and police arrested him, Dale-Schmidt said.
The incident was captured on surveillance video and police dash cam footage, officials said.
The pedestrians were hospitalized in serious to critical condition, suffering several broken bones, face lacerations and skull fractures, authorities said
One of the victims suffered extensive brain trauma and remains unresponsive and intubated in the intensive care unit, prosecutors said. A relative told police the victim flipped several times in the air before landing on the ground, prosecutors said.
Garcia and his three passengers, in their early- and mid-20s, also were taken to local hospitals, police said.
Garcia has no criminal history, but has two suspensions from 2019 relating to driving without a license or insurance and evading officers, his defense attorney and prosecutors said.
Jaclyn Diaz, assistant public defender, told the court Garcia is “cognizant of the allegations against him.”
Cook County Judge Charles Beach II ordered Garcia held on $200,000 bail.
One of Garcia’s passengers had been in the car for 30 minutes leading up to the hit-and-run and said Garcia “had no difficultly braking or accelerating” during that time, prosecutors said.
That witness also told authorities Garcia “was aware of the situation” and drove without a driver’s license again, which is also a “serious offense,” Beach said.
Beach also said Garcia’s disregard for the fans and police, and “thinking his life is more important than that of the victim in the sun roof” showed he could be a potential flight risk.
“Mr. Garcia was aware of the situation where he was driving, [and] it’s painfully obvious, if anyone’s driven down that street during a Sox game, the number of pedestrians that are present there … It’s a main thoroughfare to get to and from the baseball gathering,” Beach said. “I bring that up because it appears a witness in the car alerted Garcia as to people in the crosswalk — something that would have been evident to him — … yet he did not heed those comments.”
If released from jail, Garcia is ordered to have no contact with victims and will be placed on electronic monitoring. He is scheduled to appear in court next June 30.
Transportation activists and fans who witnessed the attack are urging city officials to shut down the portion of the street on game days so no cars can drive there.