WICKER PARK — Relatives and friends of a teenager severely injured in a hit-and-run at a busy Wicker Park intersection are pleading for anyone with information about the driver to come forward — and for police to arrest the driver responsible.
The driver of a red Mercedes-Benz hit 17-year-old Nakari Campbell around 10:30 p.m. Friday while she was crossing Division Street at Ashland Avenue, police said.
The driver then fled west on Division “at a high rate of speed” and did not stop even as Nakari was on top of the car, according to a police alert and the teen’s family. The driver then drove over the teen after she fell off the car, and dragged her down Division Street before fleeing, her family said.
Nakari was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious condition. She remains in a medically-induced coma and is “fighting for her life” after suffering numerous broken bones and other severe injuries, family said Tuesday.
The car that hit Nakari is a 2008, Mercedes-Benz C35, four-door sedan, with dark-colored rims and tinted windows, according to the alert. It has an Illinois license plate with the tag DC60012, police said.
No one is in custody as of Tuesday, a police spokesperson said. The incident remains under investigation.
But Nakari’s family and friends want to know why police haven’t made any arrests, even though they have the car’s license plate information.
CWB Chicago reported that police visited the registered owner’s home in Belmont Cragin after the crash, but the owner refused to talk to officers and no one was arrested.
A police spokesperson said they could not confirm the report that officers had tracked down the owner of the car.
Citing CWB’s report, relatives, activists and attorneys representing Nakari and her family held a press conference Tuesday where the crash occurred and repeatedly questioned how no one could be arrested if police know the driver or who owns the car involved.
“If you can arrest somebody with a gun out here, discharging that gun, then they can arrest the owner of this car, because that’s a weapon, too. You used that car, you injured and committed bodily harm to this family,” activist and crisis responder Andrew Holmes said. “So you need to turn yourself in or be arrested yourself.”
Anyone with information about the driver or incident can contact Chicago Police’s Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521. The case’s reference number is RD# JG369828. Anonymous tips can be submitted through cpdtip.com.
Anthony Hargrove, Nakari’s uncle, said the teen was walking from her home to a nearby Wendy’s, 1623 W. Division St., to meet friends before going to a party.
She was crossing Division Street when the Mercedes “came out of nowhere,” Hargrove said, who said he was referencing what numerous witnesses told her family.
At one point, Nakari was on top of the car, yelling at the driver, Hargrove said.
“She was on top of the car. He came to an abrupt stop. She fell off the car. As she fell off the hood of the car, he kind of rolled over her,” Hargrove said. “As he rolled over her, her hair got caught into the car’s wheels,” Hargrove said.
Nakari was then dragged “about a block” down Division Street, family said. The driver then drove off, police said.
The 17-year-old has undergone several surgeries and has more procedures scheduled to treat her multiple injuries, Hargrove said.
“They are doing reconstruction for her jaw. She has broken her ribs, her arm, her foot, her leg. She has to have a skin graft. All of her hair has been removed. She has staples in her head,” Hargrove said.
Nakari is a driven and bright student who loves fashion and doing her hair and wants to become a lawyer, her family said. She’s a rising senior at Legal Prep Charter Academy on the West Side, principal Joseph Williams said.
Nakari is “never shy to voice her opinion. She was always strong in her efforts to make sure that she stood boldly on what she believes,” Williams said.
“She was, she is truly a truly a blessing for us as the Legal Prep family, and we look forward to seeing her walk in that building and look forward to seeing her walk across that [graduation] stage.”
Adriana Elliott, Nakari’s god cousin, said the teen is “like her little sister” and always the first person she calls when she comes back to Chicago from school.
“I just hate to see her in so much pain. She almost made her first milestone, graduating high school. I just wish the person would turn themselves in. That did not have to happen to her,” Elliott said. “Nakari is a fighter. She’s going to make it through it.”
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