'I lost my soulmate': Wife of Chicago teacher seeks justice after husband killed in traffic crash

Allan Nunez and Sofia Pappas got married in a civil service in December 2020.

Sofia gave birth to their first child the next month

"My husband was 32 years old. He had just begun his life. He had just had his son. We had just gotten married and were planning our church wedding," said Pappas.

That wedded bliss was cut short when Allan went for a motorcycle ride on May 14, 2021.

"I was just so…drowning in my devastation because my son lost his father and I lost my soulmate," said Pappas.

According to the Chicago Police report, the Lincoln Park high school teacher was in the 900 block of West Grand Avenue when he was hit by the driver of an oncoming SUV.

Allan was rushed to Stroger Hospital, where he died a short time later. 

"The judicial system was that last shred of hope that I had, that at least the system would make sure consequences were carried out," said Pappas.

Sofia's hope was crushed in July, when she and her attorney found out the traffic charges filed against the other driver had been dismissed. 

"Exactly what happened was, the SAO wanted another continuance, but the judge said, ‘You’re out of luck. You've asked for too many, and besides the speedy trial act is up, you either gotta put up or shut up,'" said Philip Corboy, partner at Corboy and Demetrio.

Corboy is Sofia's attorney in the civil wrongful death suit she has filed against the other driver.

He is also a former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney.


"This is what's so crazy about this. I don't understand how it was allowed to happen," said Corboy. "It wasn't like nobody knew about it."

Chicago police gave the other driver, John Lawson, three tickets immediately following the fatal motorcycle-SUV crash for failure to reduce speed, failure to obey a stop signal and no valid driver's license. 

Since Allan passed away after being taken to the hospital, what's interesting to note is none of the tickets issued on the scene even mention bodily injury. 

"This should have been flagged as something we in our industry call a ‘heater case,’" said Corboy. "There's a dead body right here, it was provoked by bad driving on behalf of the defendant. He's had problems in the past with his driver's license and his conduct behind the wheel of a car."

After receiving the traffic tickets, Lawson invoked his right to a speedy trial, which requires that it happen within 160 days. 

His trial was on the docket to start July 19.

"It's been mentioned to me that the office is overwhelmed," said Corboy. "They don't have enough assistants, assistant state's attorneys, and they just don't have the personnel to deal with many of the cases that end up in their lap."

In the time leading up to Lawson's trial date, Corboy says he spoke with three different assistant state's attorneys, who had been assigned to this case. 

"The excuse is always that, well you know, again, we are understaffed, and the police officers routinely just don't show up even though we had subpoenas on the police officers in this case," said Corboy.

Corboy says he tried to help the state's attorney's office in the summer of 2021 by sharing video of the accident obtained from a nearby business.

"There was a lot of evidence in this particular case. There was photographs that accompanied the videotapes, it was an easy case," said Corboy.

To make matters worse, when Sofia filed her wrongful death civil suit against Lawson, his insurance company claims they aren't responsible for any damages because Lawson did not have any liability coverage on his SUV at the time of the accident.

Also, Sofia and her attorney say they didn't hear from the Cook County State's Attorney's office about the case being dismissed. 

They found out on their own when they checked the case status.

"I made a phone call. Talked to an assistant. I suggested somebody talk to a supervisor to see what, if anything, can be done. Never received a phone call back," said Corboy.

FOX 32 stopped by Lawson's Des Plaines address to ask him about the accident.

No one answered the door.

"It's like Allan's life didn't matter. They just let the case be dropped? That's so irresponsible," said Pappas.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office provided the following statement: 

Misdemeanor traffic offenses related to this May 14, 2021, incident were directly filed by police after an investigation by the CPD Major Accidents Unit.  The CCSAO was not contacted to review this matter for felony charges and moved forward with the prosecution of the misdemeanor case based on the available facts, circumstances, and the applicable law.

On July 19, 2022, the defendant demanded trial, however, the witnesses related to this incident were not in court.  Prosecutors asked the court for a continuance, which was denied.  Based on that ruling, we could not move forward with the trial and the case was dismissed by the court.

The CCSAO is committed to the work of justice, and we will review any additional information that is brought to us by police to determine if further charges are appropriate. 

FOX 32 reached out to Chicago Police about this case, but have yet to hear back.