Man charged in fatal August hit-and-run crash near Lombard
A man accused of leaving the scene of an Aug. 30 fatal crash near Lombard was arrested this week, due in part to his co-workers reporting him to police.
Bail was set Friday at $150,000 for Luciano Pantaleon of Berwyn, whom authorities say struck and killed a 59-year-old man.
Pantaleon, 49, appeared before DuPage County Judge Jeffrey MacKay.
Assistant state's attorney Kristin Sullivan requested $500,000 bail.
Pantaleon is charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
According to Sullivan, Pantaleon was driving east on Roosevelt Road near Addison Road at 12:10 a.m. when he struck pedestrian Robert Szabo.
Pantaleon got out of his Ford F250 pickup truck, as did a witness who was driving another car. The witness spoke to Pantaleon, who told her "He (Szabo) would be OK," Sullivan told MacKay. Pantaleon then drove away.
DuPage County sheriff's deputies were able to get a photo from a video camera showing a white truck driving on Roosevelt Road that matched the truck described by the witness. A Glen Ellyn police squad car video also showed a similar white truck pulling out of the Baker Hill shopping center parking lot in Glen Ellyn shortly before the crash.
The only business that would have been open in that shopping center at that time of night was Ellyn's Tap and Grill, Sullivan said. Investigators quickly reviewed videos from that business, but did not see the white truck. However, an employee called police Dec. 2 and said she had reviewed the video footage again and discovered the video time indicator was an hour off.
The employee also noted a line cook had told her Pantaleon, who also worked at Ellyn's, said he had been in an accident, according to Sullivan.
Investigators determined Pantaleon also worked at a car wash, Sullivan said, and that he had asked a supervisor for the name of a lawyer, because he had been involved in an accident after having a few drinks.
Investigators searched Pantaleon's truck on Wednesday. Although the front grill appeared to have been replaced, there was damage behind it, Sullivan said. A piece of the truck found at the scene matched the damage "almost perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle," Sullivan said.
DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick said he was proud of his investigators, especially Detective David Molzahn, for not giving up on the case.
"With very little information to go on, and tips few and far between, Det. Molzahn and his team tenaciously followed up on every lead until they were able to provide prosecutors with enough evidence to build a very solid case," Mendrick said in a news release. "We're all very thankful that their hard work will result in some form of closure for Mr. Szabo's family and friends."
If Pantaleon posts bond, he will have to wear an alcohol-intake monitor and a GPS tracker.
His next court date is Jan. 6.