By Bob Bong
A Bridgeview man was charged Thursday with reckless homicide and additional charges in the January 23 crash in Orland Park that claimed the life of a 5-year-old girl.
Orland Park police arrested Ahmad Alzobi, 56, of 7758 W. 79th St., after a lengthy investigation into the crash at 151st Street and Harlem Avenue that took the life of Evelyn Thomas and injured her 6-year-old sister Sylvi and father.
Police said Alzobi was driving a GMC Yukon Denali 63 mph in a 45-mph zone about 9:30 p.m. in snowy conditions and the roadway was covered in snow, ice and water. Police said he proceeded through a solid red light and struck an SUV carrying the Thomas girls and their father.
Police said Alzobi was charged with reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony, aggravated reckless driving, a Class 4 felony, and driving without insurance, a Class A misdemeanor.
He was to appear in bond court on Friday, but no information was available.
Orland Fire Protection District officials at the time said that both vehicles were large passenger SUVs. One was being driven southbound on Harlem Avenue by a father and his two teenage daughters, and the other was driven by a father and his two young daughters.
According to reports, the SUV heading south on Harlem hit the side of an SUV carrying the sisters that was trying to turn left onto 151st Street. The impact sent the SUV into a snowplow that was stopped at the intersection.
The door of the vehicle that was turning was torn off. Firefighters at the scene reported that the vehicle that had been struck also had a small fire as a result of the accident that was quickly extinguished.
Paramedics said the damage was extensive to both vehicles.
Evelyn was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after paramedics tried for more than 40 minutes to revive her. Evelyn’s father and 6-year-old sister, Sylvi, were also taken to Christ where they were initially treated and transferred to another hospital for specialized medical care. The driver of the other SUV suffered minor injuries.
All passengers were wearing seat belts and the young girls were properly belted in booster seats at the time of the accident, a spokesman for the Orland Fire District said.
The driver of the snowplow and a third vehicle stopped to help until paramedics arrived.
Photo supplied by Orland Park Police Department