A professional driver who struck and killed an 82-year-old woman crossing the street on the Southwest Side was under the influence of cannabis when the crash happened Thursday.
James W. Rudzinski, 61, of west suburban Wheaton, was ordered held in jail Saturday on $150,000 bond after he was charged with three counts of driving under the influence, including one felony, and an additional count of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Bronislawa Zajac, 82, of the 6100 block of West 84th Place, was trying to cross the street Thursday morning in the West Clearing neighborhood when Rudzinksi turned left in the delivery vehicle he drives for work.
Rudzinksi, who was going south on Narragansett Avenue, had a green light and was trying to turn onto 63rd Street when he struck the woman, whom he later told police he didn’t see.
Zajac was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m. on Thursday.
Following an autopsy, the medical examiner's office determined Zajac died from multiple injuries suffered in the accident.
Police said Rudzinski showed signs of intoxication, and a balance test performed after the crash indicated impairment. Rudzinski was later taken to a hospital, where his urine tested positive for cannabis.
According to Rudzinski’s arrest report, he admitted to smoking small amounts of cannabis daily and said he had consumed the drug on each of the three days before the crash.