North Riverside man killed crossing Cermak

A 35-year-old North Riverside man died early Saturday morning after he was struck by a car apparently while crossing Cermak Road at 3rd Avenue about 10:45 p.m. on Friday, April 24.

According to the police report, a 24-year-old Oak Park man was driving westbound on Cermak Road when an SUV traveling in front of him swerved sharply to the right. Seeing that, the Oak Park man started to change lanes to the right as well, striking Christopher Bakke, who was standing in the roadway.

The driver’s description of the incident matched that of another motorist who was directly behind the vehicle that struck Bakke, said police.

Bakke struck the hood and windshield of the vehicle before rolling over the top and landing in the roadway. Paramedics transported Bakke to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where he was pronounced dead at 1:24 a.m. on April 25, during surgery.

Police said that the driver of the vehicle was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A family member told police that around 8 p.m. Bakke had said he was going to go “downtown” to shop and he likely traveled by bus.

There is a bus stop at 2nd Avenue on the north side of Cermak Road. Bakke lived about a block away to the west, on the south side of Cermak. He may have been crossing the street to go home when he was struck.

Police recovered Bakke’s backpack at the scene. Inside they found a shopping list written on a piece of paper, with the items crossed off found inside the backpack.

North Riverside police closed Cermak Road between 3rd and 4th avenues while Illinois State Police accident reconstruction investigators gathered evidence. Police are also awaiting an autopsy report from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“All things point to it just being a horrible accident,” said North Riverside Deputy Police Chief Deborah Garcia.

The driver who struck Bakke was not ticketed and police drove him home from the scene.


Ice cream trucks burglarized

Someone broke into a pair of ice cream trucks, parked behind a building in the 4500 block of Grove Avenue, Brookfield, on the afternoon of April 22.

The victim called police about 1:05 p.m. after a neighbor informed her that someone was inside one of the two trucks, which are owned by the woman’s husband and her stepson.

Missing from one of the trucks was a red jar that contained about $250 in change. The jar had been sitting on a freezer inside the truck. The offender reportedly gained entry to the vehicle by forcing open the driver’s side window.

Nothing was reported missing from the other truck, which was entered through an unlocked door, police said.

The offender was described as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 years old with facial hair and a tattoo on his neck. He was wearing a red coat, a red baseball cap, jeans and black shoes. He was last seen heading southbound in the 4500 block of Grove Avenue.


Cocaine inside lighter

A 23-year-old Chicago resident Alejandro Rodriguez faces felony drug charges after Riverside police reported discovering six plastic bags of cocaine inside what appeared to be a cigarette lighter inside his vehicle.

An officer reported on April 20 that he was on patrol on Harlem Avenue about 9:30 p.m. when he smelled a strong odor of cannabis coming from a black 2006 Nissan that was southbound on Harlem Avenue from Quincy Street.

During the ensuing traffic stop, Rodriguez reportedly admitted that he and his two female passengers, ages 23 and 24, had been smoking cannabis. After having the three exit the vehicle, the officer searched it, finding a large black lighter with a false bottom. Rodriguez’s cellphone also reportedly contained text messages indicating he was selling drugs. 

Rodriguez was charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, both felonies. 


Cell tower batteries stolen

An employee of Sprint reported to Brookfield police on April 21 that someone stole 16 batteries from the cellphone tower located at 9014 47th St., probably on April 9, when the company received a door activation alarm for the cabinet holding the batteries.

The alarm simply initiates a “ticket” internally and does not notify police, according to the report. There were no signs of forced entry. The batteries were valued at $425 each.


These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, April 20-26, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

—Compiled by Bob Uphues