By William Lee, Annie Sweeney and Becky Schlikerman
9:31 AM CDT, July 11, 2011
A 16-year-old boy was charged this morning in connection with a fatal traffic crash that left a police dispatcher dead over the weekend.
Marquis Harrison, of the 200 block of South Lotus Avenue, was charged as an adult with one count of first-degree murder and felony burglary, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office. He was also charged with misdemeanor DUI and received two citations.
Authorities said the teen was driving a stolen Range Rover at 6:15 a.m. Sunday and was being chased by police when he plowed into a car near the intersection of Hoyne and Armitage avenues that was driven by Marciea Adkins, a veteran police dispatcher on her way home after working the overnight shift.
The crash startled severalBucktown residents from their sleep as Adkins’ car seemed to buckle around a fire hydrant on the driver’s side, and the SUV, crashed into a building.
The 16-year-old had touched off a nearly 2-mile pursuit after he backed into a police vehicle during a traffic stop for failing to stop at a red light, police said.
Adkins, 42, was married to a dispatcher for the Chicago Fire Department and the couple had a young daughter.
The city flag at the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications was lowered to half-staff on Sunday, and Adkins’ body was escorted by police and fire vehicles from Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
After police had tried to stop the teen at Blackhawk Street and Elston Avenue, he fled north, winding up on Hoyne, where he struck Adkins as she drove west on Armitage, police said.
According to department policy, officers must contact an OEMC dispatcher with details about any pursuit, and a supervisor must monitor and manage the chase. Sources told the Tribune that the pursuit Sunday was called into the dispatch center and monitored.
Police had activated their emergency lights and sirens, but the speed the vehicles were traveling was not released Sunday.
After the crash, the 16-year-old bolted from the SUV, rolled over the hood, darted down a narrow gangway and into an alley and fled west, a witness said. Officers did the same. They rolled over hoods and chased him on foot, catching up with him nearby.
“It was just like you see in cop videos,” said a woman who didn’t want to be named because she helped identify the teen to police. “They were doing their job for sure.”
Once arrested, the teen, who allegedly had been drinking, was taken to a hospital for treatment.
It was the chase on foot that woke up Teddy Vehar, 29, whose window is beside the gangway the teen charged through. He heard “flip-flop” steps, he said.
“It sounded like he had big old feet,” said Vehar, who grabbed a bat and ran to his front door in the 2000 block of North Hoyne, preparing to confront a criminal.
But outside, he instead saw Adkins’ wrecked car. She was trapped and not moving. Others said her head was slumped to the side.
Stunned, Vehar offered his bat to help free Adkins, who he said appeared to be turning white. “The poor lady,” Vehar said.
Vehar and others said the Fire Department worked frantically to free Adkins, crawling over the hood of the car to reach her.
“It’s just sad,” said Mike Byrne, 29. “Looking at her, you knew she was gone, and even if she wasn’t, it wasn’t going to be easy to bring her back.”
The teen is expected to appear in bond court at noon.
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