Suspect in custody in hit-and-run death of correctional officer
BY HUNTER CLAUSS, LEEANN SHELTON AND LISA DONOVAN Staff Reporters July 18, 2012 11:43PM
Memorial set-up for Cook County correctional officer Nikkii Bostic-Jones, who was killed by a hit and run driver, on her way to work Wednesday night at the Cook County Jail near 29th and California. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: August 21, 2012 6:24AM
A suspect was in custody in Wednesday night’s hit-and-run death of a popular Cook County correctional officer who was struck and killed as she walked to work at the Cook County Jail, sources said.
Nikkii Bostic-Jones, 37, was hit about 10:50 p.m. Wednesday as she crossed the street outside the jail on her way to work, officials said.
Bostic-Jones was thrown into the southbound lane, where she was hit by and pinned under a sheriff’s car, county sheriff officials said. Police had the possible make and model and a partial license plate number of the full-size van that hit her . Using databases, they located a similar van nearby, owned by a man who lives near the jail, source said.
Evidence on the van appeared to link it to the crash, sources said.
“They took a great person’s life,” her sister, Andrell Bostic, 28, said as tears welled in her eyes. “She’s all we had. It’s just not real.”
The correctional officer died at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Friends, family and co-workers lined up outside the hospital as her body, wrapped in a white blanket, was wheeled to an ambulance. She was taken to the county medical examiner’s office.
“She was a great person — a very loving person,” said her husband, James Jones. They were married for seven years, but he had known her for 25 years.
Bostic-Jones’ fellow officers at the jail were devastated at the sudden loss of a woman whose presence — her smile and kindness — loomed large.
“Her co-workers are truly, truly heartbroken,” sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki said, noting that counselors were brought in to help grieving staffers. “She started every shift with her co-workers with a smile and hugs,” Bilecki said.
Even some of the detainees in the maximum-security division where she worked — keeping watch over suspects in murders, big-time drug deals and other more serious criminal cases — were taking it hard, Bilecki said. Her duties ranged from keeping an eye on the suspects during the hour they were allowed outside their cells for recreation to escorting them to vans to be taken to court.
“She treated them fairly, and they treated her with dignity and respect,” Bilecki said.
“And to be able to command respect like that — that’s a special skill she had,” he added.
The deputy who was driving the sheriff’s vehicle that pinned Bostic-Jones after the hit-and-run van sped off also is heavy-hearted. The officer was taken to St. Anthony Hospital for observation after the crash.
“I feel horrible for the family, but I also feel bad for the officer — he’s struggling heavily with this right now, too,” Bilecki said.
The sheriff’s office, which oversees the jail, offered grief counseling to the family. A vigil outside the jail is scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday — the time when Bostic-Jones would be ending her shift.
Bostic-Jones worked an overnight shift because she wanted to have her days free for her young daughter, Bilecki said.
Her husband said she wanted to make sure she continued working to keep her family together, especially since her mother died from cancer three years ago. “She was all about family time,” he said, adding that she loved being with her 6-year-old daughter.
Bostic-Jones also loved sports.
“She was swimming every day,” he said. “She loved biking, motorcycles and sports.”
She was even looking forward to watching the Summer Olympics at their home in Plainfield.