BOND SET AT $500,000 FOR PLANO WOMAN CHARGED WITH DROPPING FIVE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER OF SIX-STORY PARKING GARAGE

DuPage County State’s Attorney

May 1, 2021

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Winfield Chief of Police David Schar announced today that bond has been set for Plano woman accused of dropping her five-year-old daughter off a six-story parking garage at Central DuPage Hospital. Jerica Crawford, 28 (d.o.b. 11/2/1992) of the 3400 block of Clason Street appeared in Bond Court this morning where Paul Marchese set bond at $500,000 with 10% to apply, in accordance with a previously issued arrest warrant. Judge Marchese also granted the State’s motion for appointment of clinical psychologist. Crawford has been charged with one count of Aggravated Battery to a Child Under 13, a Class X Felony. On April 29, 2021, Judge Paul Marchese issued a $500,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant for Crawford.

On February 23, 2021 at approximately 4:38 p.m., Winfield police officers responded to a call at Northwestern Medicine, Central DuPage Hospital, for two subjects who fell off the top of a parking garage on the southwestern part of the campus. Upon their arrival, officers found Crawford and her daughter on the ground next to the parking garage. Both Crawford and her daughter had sustained injuries and were brought into the hospital for treatment. It is alleged that Crawford drove to the top of the parking garage, walked to the edge of the garage and dropped her daughter off the top of the garage before jumping off the garage herself.          

“The allegations against Ms. Crawford are extremely disturbing,” Berlin said. “We are all very thankful that both Ms. Crawford and her daughter appear to be well on the road to recovery,” Berlin said. I would like to thank the Winfield Police Department as well as DuPage County MERIT for their thorough investigation and assistance in this matter. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Louisa Nuckolls for her efforts on this case.”

“I would like to thank DuPage County MERIT as well as the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance throughout this entire investigation.”        

Crawford’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 24, 2021 for arraignment in front of Judge Ann Celine O’Hallaren Walsh.    

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

DuPage County State’s Attorney

PRESIDENT PRECKWINKLE ANNOUNCES SMALL BUSINESS WEEK TO SUPPORT LOCAL COMPANIES, ENTREPRENEURS, AND COUNTY’S $29M INVESTMENT

Cook County Government

May 3, 2021

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Commissioners Alma Anaya (7th District) and Brandon Johnson (1st District), and the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance program network, today announced its “Together We Thrive” initiative and the official launch of Small Business Week in Cook County. Throughout the week, Cook County will provide events and opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as promote community business owners including Ramon Torres, owner of Aztec Dave’s Food Truck, and Verlean Singletary, owner of Da Book Joint (a virtual online bookstore), who are among more than 4000 small business owners who received support from Cook County’s Small Business Assistance program.

Last year, the County launched COVID-19 Recovery: Small Business Assistance. To date, the program has assisted nearly 2000 small business owners experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic with $16.9M in grants. The program also provides support for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering pro bono advice, webinars, and educational resources for small businesses in Cook County.

“Over 50 years ago, the U.S. Small Business Administration started celebrating the vital contributions of America’s Small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said President Preckwinkle. “Today, and all week long, we will celebrate and acknowledge the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities. The small businesses represented here are an excellent example of the time and dedication small businesses make in each of our communities, allowing them to thrive.”

Available resources throughout the program include free business advising, webinars, grants, and loan application assistance to aid in economic recovery from the pandemic. Specific Small Business Week resources are also available and include:

    Marketing Webinar – A free marketing webinar on Tuesday, May 4, at 9 a.m. to provide small business owners with information and tools on digital marketing to expand their customer bases. To register for the webinar, visit bit.ly/CookCountySmallBizMarketing.

    Window Decals – Decals are available to small businesses to promote the “Together We Thrive” initiative and are available to download in English and Spanish. Business owners are encouraged to photograph themselves or their business with the decal and submit the photo to the program’s social media accounts for additional promotion throughout the week.

    Social Media Graphics – Downloadable, premade social media graphics are available for businesses to post. Click on this link to access graphic images.

    Toni’s Tips – The “Toni’s Tips” social media series features small business recommendations by President Preckwinkle, and showcases some of the business owners who were helped by Cook County’s Small Business Assistance program.

    Impact Report – A complete report of “Rebuilding Stronger Together,” detailing the current impact of Cook County’s Community Recovery Initiative programs and its plans to accelerate economic recovery moving forward. The report is available for download at http://www.cookcountyil.gov/recovery.

 “All of us at Aztec Dave’s are very grateful for the assistance we received from Cook County to keep our business running. We wouldn’t be able to grow without it. This support was crucial in allowing us to continue to feed all of our wonderful customers, while making their health and safety a top priority,” noted Ramon Torres, Owner, Aztec Dave’s Food Truck, Inc.

Throughout the week, small business owners are encouraged to contact any of the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery: Small Business Assistance partner organizations to learn more about free resources. Partners include Allies for Community Business, Berwyn Development Corporation, Chicago TREND, Chicago Urban League, the Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Southland Development Authority, and the Women’s Business Development Center.

“Community businesses continue to find ways to survive during this pandemic,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Allies for Community Business. “We’re thankful that Cook County has provided such strong leadership in supporting small business owners. A4CB will continue to help our entrepreneurs thrive as we work together to put the pandemic fully behind us.”

The program is also made possible by funding and advocacy partners The Chicago Community Trust and Affiliates, Cook County Community Recovery Initiative, Fifth Third Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, and Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

For more information about the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance program, visit the website at www.cookcountysmallbiz.org.

Cook County Government

CHICAGO WEEKEND LEAVES 31 WOUNDED AND 5 MURDERED . . . SO FAR

by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times

CHICAGO, May 2, 2021 – While the rest of Illinois enjoys a relatively quiet weekend, our city once again suffers from criminals terrorizing innocent citizens.  As of Sunday morning, 5 people were gunned down in the streets while 26 were wounded.  According to CPD sources, 12 of the victims were shot within a 12-hour period.

As evening descended on the city Friday, many of our fellow citizens expected to enjoy a sunny weekend in the 80s, yet this was not to be for some.  Starting at 7:30 pm, a 17-year-old boy was shot multiple times by an unknown gunman in the 1900 block of South Drake Ave in Lawndale.  The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center with wounds to his legs.  According to Mount Sinai staff the victim is listed in critical condition.

In less than 4 hours around 11:15 pm, a 21-year-old man was shot to death while traveling in a car in the 800 block of East 87th Place.  The victim was shot three times in the head and twice in the arm.  He was later pronounced dead and has yet to be identified.  CPD sources did not indicate if he was the intended target.

With a lull in “reported” shootings, the gun violence would resume as evening again descended on the city Saturday.  As the sun set on our great western horizon, a 14-year-old boy was wounded by gunfire on the South Side in the 7200 block of South Blackstone Ave.  The victim was simply standing on the sidewalk when wounded in the leg and grazed in the head.  Comer Children’s Hospital staff stated the victim is expected to survive.

By 11 pm Saturday, a 37-year-old man was murdered in 11800 block of South Lafayette Ave after he got into an argument with another male.  After a physical altercation, the male gunman drew and shot the victim point blank in the head without remorse.  The unidentified gunman fled the scene.

By midnight Saturday, a 27-year-old male was shot in the hip and shoulder.  The yet to be identified victim was taken to St. Bernard Hospital and pronounce dead.  A 30-year-old victim was also shot but is expected to survive.

Sunday, the day of rest, would also see several shootings in the early morning. 

Around 2:30 am, a 29-year-old man was wounded by gunfire at a gas station in the Ukrainian Village.   The innocent victim was filling his vehicle up with gas when a gunman approached and opened fire wounding the victim in the leg.  The victim is listed in good condition.

At 4 am, a 35-year-old woman was shot while sitting in a moving vehicle in the 9400 block of South Halsted Ave.  Witnesses stated that an unidentified gunman in a white pick-up truck fired rounds into the back of the victim’s head.  The victim is listed in critical condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

As I have asked before, is this the Chicago we the citizens deserve?  Who is responsible for the endless violence?  Who is responsible for ending the violence?

MOTORISTS REMINDED TO USE CAUTION TO AVOID TURTLES THIS SPRING

Forest Preserve District of DuPage

(April 29, 2021) — The DuPage Forest Preserve District reminds drivers to watch for turtles on the roads as these reptiles become more active in the spring.

From April through October turtles cross roads in search of water, food, mates or nests. Female crossings increase in particular from mid-May to mid-July as the turtles make their way to and from nesting sites.

“For their eggs to survive, turtles must find just the right spot for their nests,” said District ecologist Dan Thompson. “Some turtles must travel up to a mile to find the right conditions,” so adult females looking for nesting sites can cross roads a good distance from bodies of water.

Despite their hard shells, turtles cannot protect themselves from vehicles they encounter on the way. The loss of one adult turtle can be significant because at least 90 percent of adults must survive each year to sustain a population. If the rate drops below this number the population will be in decline.

For instance, if a 30-year-old female Blanding’s turtle dies, it’s more than the loss of one individual. A Blanding’s turtle can lay a dozen or more eggs each year and live to be 70 or 80, so the loss of that one female can mean 500 fewer eggs for the overall population. Hatchlings have low survival rates and take 14 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity. So adults are needed to ensure enough young are produced to sustain the population.

“Turtles are not able to move quickly to avoid a car, so it’s up to drivers to avoid hitting them,” Thompson said. “Car horns and flashing lights will have no effect on turtles; they simply can’t move any faster to get out of the way. Drivers need to pay attention and do what they can to avoid hitting these animals.”

Motorists can avoid turtles simply by following the rules of the road. Focus on driving, don’t speed or tailgate, and stay off your phone. Leave plenty of room between cars so turtles can be seen. Drivers should never place themselves or others in danger by stopping abruptly on busy roads.

Willowbrook resident wildlife specialist Alicia Biewer demonstrates how to safely help a snapping turtle cross the road in this Facebook video.

DuPage County is home to a variety of native turtle species, including musk, snapping, eastern spiny softshell, common map, painted and the state-endangered Blanding’s.

Roads near lakes, ponds and marshes can be turtle-crossing hotspots, so it helps to be particularly vigilant while driving in these areas. These locations will be active outside of nesting season as males and females may be crossing to access other foraging areas or searching for mates throughout the growing season.

Anyone who finds an injured turtle should consult the Forest Preserve District’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center. Located at 525 S. Park Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, the center cares for injured native wildlife in DuPage County and strives to return them to the wild. Willowbrook accepts wildlife patients 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, but people should first call 630-942-6200 to arrange for no-contact curbside drop-offs.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Forest Preserve District of DuPage

CHICAGO WOMAN CHARGED WITH FIRST DEGREE MURDER FOLLOWING A MARCH SHOOTING IN UNINCORPORATED PROVISO TOWNSHIP

Cook County Sheriff’s Office

April 24, 2021

COOK COUNTY, IL –A Chicago woman who allegedly shot and killed a 28-year-old man in an incident outside an Elmhurst bar last month is slated to have a bond court hearing today on charges of first-degree murder, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., on Friday, March 26, Cook County Sheriff’s Police were called to Galway Bar and Grill in Unincorporated Proviso Township after being notified a person was shot in the parking lot. The victim, Dominique Bynum, 28, of the 100 block of North 15th St in Melrose Park, was shot in the chest area and transported to Elmhurst Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

During the investigation, detectives learned that two groups began fighting in the bar and were separated. The fight continued in the rear parking lot where a female suspect was seen on surveillance video pulling a firearm out of her waistband. The suspects then fled in a vehicle driving westbound on Roosevelt Road.

On Wednesday, April 21, the offender, identified as Robin Thornton, 34, was arrested in her home in the 8000 block of South Calumet Ave in Chicago. Officers executed a search warrant at her residence and found a firearm matching the caliber of the shell casing at the scene.

After she was issued a Miranda warning, Thornton made statements regarding her involvement in the shooting that resulted in the death of Bynum.

On April 23, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of first-degree murder.

Thornton will attend a bond hearing today at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the government in a court of law.

Cook County Sheriff’s Office