Motorist charged in 2016 hit-and-run that claimed life of cyclist in West Garfield Park

Creshon Harris

A motorist has been charged in a 2016 hit-and-run that claimed the life of a cyclist in West Garfield Park.

Creshon Harris, 53, struck Francisco Cruz, in a crosswalk in the 4000 block of West Maypole Avenue on the night of Aug. 17, 2016, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Cruz, 58, was taken to Stroger Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Following Cruz’s death, police released a surveillance video still that showed the white work van Harris had been allegedly driving before Cruz was hit.

Other surveillance cameras also show the van driving away after it struck Cruz. The cameras also captured the van stopping at a nearby home five minutes later, prosecutors said. A man could then be seen exiting the van and looking at the front of the van before walking off.

Investigators learned that the home where Harris had stopped was where his girlfriend lived, prosecutors said. She told police Harris had visited her the night Cruz was hit and she identified Harris in a surveillance video, prosecutors said.

An image released by police shows the white cargo van that fatally struck Francisco Cruz on Aug. 17 in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. | Chicago Police

The woman also told investigators that Harris claimed the van had been stolen and that surveillance video distributed to media outlets did not show him driving the van, prosecutors said.

Shortly after the crash, Cruz’s family sued the company that owned the van Harris had been allegedly driving.

Prosecutors did not say in court Thursday why it took five years to charge Harris with failure to report an accident causing death.

Harris, a Chicagoan, lives with his fiancé and has eight children, his defense attorney said.

Judge John F. Lyke ordered Harris held on $10,000 bail.

Harris is expected back in court Oct. 5.