If there’s one vehicle that’s likely to be noticed when someone steals it, that vehicle is probably a semi-truck. But that didn’t stop 31-year-old Chicago resident Jason Popko, who stole a semi-truck and then hit a 47-year-old bicyclist near the 3600 block of South Ashland in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side.
The crash occurred at around 4:25 p.m. on October 7, and Popko was arrested after witnesses of the accident identified him as the driver. The bicyclist was severely injured and was sent to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. The Chicago Tribune reported on October 25 that the victim was still in a coma, and no more official reports have been issued to confirm or deny that he is still in critical condition.
Popko’s arrest happened about two weeks after the crash, because he didn’t just steal a semi-truck and hit a bicyclist — after the crash happened, he intentionally fled the scene without providing any contact information, waiting for law enforcement and emergency workers to show up, or even call an official police line to report that there had been an accident.
Popko’s charges now include one count of possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of failure to report an accident that involved serious bodily injuries to another person.
According to the official report, Popko abandoned the stolen semi-truck (a white Volvo model 660 that received serious damage to the roof of the cab), but police officials were able to track down Popko after they searched the semi-truck and found receipts from a local recycling company, where Popko had recently sold scrap metal parts.
Popko was officially taken into custody and arrested at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 23. At his bond court hearing on October 25, the judge set his bail at $500,000.