Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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 is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



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

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff’s office warns of phone scam
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Homeowners Across Chicago Brace for Higher Property Taxes
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
WTTW News

all news items

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