Michael T. Epley

Booking photo of Michael T. Epley (Photo from Tinley Park police)

A south suburban man has been charged in the fatal hit-and-run of a 61-year old man in Tinley Park, officials said.

Prosecutors with the Cook County State's Attorney have charged Michael T. Epley, 22, of the 2200 block of Prairie Street in Blue Island, with aggravated driving under the influence and failure to stop after an accident involving personal injury or death, police said.

Rajendrakumar Shah, 61, was crossing 159th Street southbound on 80th Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a black pickup truck, according to Tinley Park Police Cmdr. Patrick McCain.

Epley was arrested and taken into custody the next day, police said. He was charged Saturday.

The suspect was discovered through evidence left at the scene, including Epley's license plate, police said.

"He was nice enough to leave it for us," McCain said.

Shah was visiting the United States from India, police said. A woman identifying herself as his daughter-in-law from India, Ritika Shah, emailed the Tribune and said he was "a very fun loving person" who "liked to travel."

Rajendrakumar Shah was a social worker and a mayor of a local municipality in his home country, she said.

Orland Hills resident Erin Henrichs, 27, said she was walking out of Walgreens at the time when she heard what sounded like a car crash.

"I heard the loud boom and there was a man laying in the middle of the road when I walked up to (her family's) car," Henrichs said. "It was horrible."

Henrichs said she walked over to check out the situation. From where she stood on the side of the road, the man appeared to be dead.

"He wasn't breathing," Henrichs recalled. "It makes my stomach turn."

The victim was lying in the middle of the road, "where a median should be," Henrichs said. She said she saw one of his bags, as well as his shoe, on the ground several feet away.

Shah was on foot when he was struck by the driver, police said.

The victim was taken to Palos Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

gpratt@tribune.com
Twitter: @royalpratt