A Berwyn woman who drove through a red light at Harlem Avenue and Longcommon Road, struck another vehicle and then hit a pedestrian crossing the street was cleared of all six felony charges against her at a bench trial on Jan. 13. She was ordered instead to pay $200 in fines for two traffic tickets related to the incident.
On Sept. 20, 2010, Riverside police charged Margaret Mary Vivanco, who was 20 at the time of the crash, with aggravated reckless driving after she reportedly drove through a red light while southbound on Harlem Avenue at Longcommon Road.
After hitting a van crossing the intersection, Vivanco struck 52-year-old David Paradiso, who was walking across the street in the crosswalk. Paradiso suffered multiple broken bones and was hospitalized.
Reached Monday at his Berwyn home, Paradiso told the Landmark that it took him about six months to recover from his injuries, but that he was no longer suffering any ill effects.
“Everything’s fine, now,” Paradiso said.
Paradiso was not at the Jan. 13 bench trial, although he gave a statement to the court back in December. Paradiso said he could not talk about what he said in that statement.
Riverside police reported that Vivanco was talking on her cellphone at the time of the crash and that they had obtained phone records that showed that.
On Oct. 21, 2010 a grand jury indicted Vivanco, charging her with six felonies, three for aggravated reckless driving causing bodily harm and three for reckless conduct causing bodily harm.
But at the bench trial on Jan. 13, Judge Paula Daleo found Vivanco not guilty of both aggravated reckless driving and reckless conduct. The prosecutor from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the other four charges against Vivanco.
Vivanco instead was given court supervision and fined $100 each for two tickets related to the incident – disobeying a traffic control signal and failure to yield to a pedestrian. She was found not guilty of a ticket given to her for driving too fast for conditions.
While the criminal case is over, Vivanco still faces a civil lawsuit related to the 2010 crash.
On Aug. 26, 2011, Mario Vargas filed suit requesting more than $50,000 in damages and claiming Vivanco was negligent when he drove through the red light, striking the vehicle Vargas was driving.