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South Side woman gets $35,000 bail in fatal hit-and-run

Alicia Johnson / Chicago Police

A mother of two charged in a deadly hit-and-run admitted she had a drink before she hit a pedestrian at a high rate of speed in Avalon Park over the weekend, Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Results of how much alcohol 22-year-old Alicia Johnson had in her system are pending. Meanwhile, she was charged with reckless homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving an injury or a death.

Johnson was driving south in the 7900 block of Stony Island late Saturday night when she hit 51-year-old James Harris, who was walking east across 79th Street, authorities said.

Johnson’s attorney, Charles Ingles, said his client was driving with traffic and through a green light at the time.

Johnson told police she saw Harris and tried to step on her brake but that she was too late, according to a police report.

She said when she had taken her car to a Midas shop for an oil change the day before, the mechanics told her she needed new brakes.

An officer who was waiting at an intersection to turn left saw the crash and noticed Johnson was going well over the 30 mph speed limit, Assistant State’s Attorney Marilyn Salas-Wail said.

Johnson’s front-seat passenger also saw Johnson hit Harris, Salas-Wail said.

The person in the back didn’t see what had happened, but felt the impact of Johnson’s car hitting Harris, Salas-Wail said.

Johnson kept driving south on Stony Island and to her home in the 9700 block of South Avalon, Salas-Wail said.

Chicago Police squad car video captured the hit-and-run and officers were able to get Johnson’s license plate from footage from a red-light camera, Salas-Wail said.

Once at Johnson’s home, where she lives with her children and grandparents, officers noticed the red Chevy Impala with front-end damage and a cracked windshield. They also saw that Johnson had a cut on her hand, Salas-Wail said.

There was also blood on her driver’s license, the police report said.

When asked why she was bleeding, Johnson allegedly said, it was because of a “car accident.”

She told officers she was about to go to the police station with her friend when they arrived, the police report said.

Johnson also allegedly told them she had drank a cup of cognac and was going 45 to 50 mph when she hit Harris.

A DUI kit was taken at Saint Francis Hospital.

Meanwhile, Harris was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:34 a.m. Sunday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Ingles said Johnson, a graduate of Simeon Career Academy, “panicked” and is cooperating with authorities.

She is the mother of a 5-year-old and 2-year-old and supports them by working full time at a South Side pawn shop, Ingles told Judge Peggy Chiampas.

Chiampas set bail at $35,000.

If Johnson is able to post bond, she will be placed on electronic monitoring and cannot leave her home except for work, Chiampas ordered.

Chiampas also said Johnson cannot drive while she is out on bond.