Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck

Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune
by Gregory Pratt

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and government truck

Gregory PrattChicago Tribune

A seasonal Forest Preserve District of Cook County worker allegedly drove a government vehicle while under the influence of drugs and killed a man, an internal memo says.

The incident happened in Elk Grove Village on Arlington Heights Road on June 30, according to a letter sent to Cook County commissioners Tuesday evening.

ADVERTISING

The crash comes to light amid continuing fallout from a viral video showing a man berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt last month — and a nearby forest preserve officer seemingly ignoring her calls for help.

The worker involved in the crash, 20-year old Caleb Rallings, was in a Ford F350 Crew dump truck driving four individuals carrying out community service work through the Cook County court system, the letter sent to county commissioners said. The vehicle Rallings was driving crashed into five vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, the letter said.

Giuseppe Gazzano, 44, of Bloomingdale, was killed in the crash, the letter said. Rallings “was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of drug involving a death,” it said.

Rallings was a seasonal employee in his second year, officials said. He was terminated from the Forest Preserve District on July 5, the letter said. All five people in the county truck were sent to local hospitals, the letter said.

The Forest Preserve District hasn’t had previous issues with Rallings, according to the letter to commissioners.

“The Forest Preserves has strict policies regarding safe driving, and we follow strict training procedures to onboard new and returning employees,” a Forest Preserve District statement said. “We took swift action to terminate the employee, and continue to grieve for the family’s loss.”

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin said Wednesday he should have been notified sooner.

“It troubles me that somebody could be high and driving a county vehicle,” Boykin said. “It troubles me that this happened June 30 and they should’ve let us know before now, I would think.”

A longtime friend of Gazzano, Paul Spaletto, said Gazzano worked in a grocery store and was on his way home from a shift when the crash occurred. Spaletto described his friend as good-natured yet diligent; when Gazzano’s father died a few years ago, Gazzano, who went by “Joe,” took the lead in caring for his mother and other family members.

“I view that as a real stand-up thing,” Spaletto said. “I don’t know how many people would have changed their whole lives and devoted so much time to taking care of family.”

Meanwhile, the officer in the viral video has been placed on desk duty as an internal investigation progresses, a local congressman called for a federal probe into the matter and the video prompted multiple calls for the police officer to resign or be fired. Even the governor of Puerto Rico tweeted about it as views of the video approached the 2 million mark.

The June 14 incident at Caldwell Woods on Chicago's Far Northwest Side came to light Monday and also prompted an apology from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who later said she expressed her regrets in a phone call to Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello.

In the video, a man — later identified in police reports as Timothy G. Trybus, 62 — demands to know why the woman was wearing a shirt displaying the Puerto Rican flag. He asks her whether she is an American citizen, even though Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens.

“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” Trybus tells her.

Forest Preserve District police Chief Kelvin Pope said the officer, whom he identified as Patrick Connor, “should've stepped in, and he should've done something. I think that's the reason we're here today, because he did not.”

Chicago Tribune’s John Keilman and freelance reporter George Houde contributed.

gpratt@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @royalpratt



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP