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‘Innocent’ killed after driver, fleeing police, slams into two cars, CTA bus

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Updated: July 14, 2013 11:13PM

Valerie Padilla received a phone call late Saturday night from her little sister, who was crying hysterically.

“We were in an accident,” Venice Gonzalez, 15, managed to say between breaths. Moments later, Padilla, 18, heard her sister yelling “Mommy, Mommy, please! Please stay alive! Please!”

Gonzalez made the call from the Saturn her mother, Marisol Mercado, 35, had been driving. Moments earlier, another vehicle that was being chased by Chicago Police smashed into the driver’s side of Mercado’s car at Pulaski and Chicago.

“She said my mom was just sitting there not moving, then shaking as if she was going through a seizure,” Padilla said.

Mercado, was pronounced dead a short time later from injuries she suffered in the crash. Her daughter and two other passengers suffered scrapes and bruises but were expected to be OK, said Mercado’s brother, David Mercado.

“She was innocent, she was just driving her car. She was my sister and my best friend. I hope she gets justice,” David Mercado said.

Police believe the man who was driving the car that was fleeing police may have been involved in an earlier shooting in the 100 block of South Springfield in which a 30-year-old person had been wounded in the leg, said Chicago Police spokesman Joshua Perkiss.

The man was arrested at the scene of the crash. No charges had been filed in the case on Sunday.

“The car came out of nowhere and smashed into us,” said Venice Gonzalez, who had cuts around her right eye.

Marisol Mercado’s five children, ranging in age from 10 to 18, were gathered at their family home on the 5700 block of West Grand as relatives and friends visited to pay condolences Sunday afternoon.

“She was like mother and father to her kids, she did everything for them, they were her life, and now she’s not here, and her kids are basically like orphans,” David Mercado said.

When asked if she was upset with Chicago police for choosing to pursue the vehicle, Padilla said: “Not really, because then he would have got away with what he was doing, and that is unfair. They were just doing their jobs.”

The decision to pursue essentially boiled down to a judgment call on the part of the officers who weighed the pursuit of a violent offender against any potential harm that could have resulted in the chase, Perkiss said.

“Given the violent nature of the crime, they continued to pursue him,” Perkiss said, who said the officers heard shots, and witnesses pointed out the suspects before police began the pursuit.

The car fleeing from police also hit a CTA bus and one other vehicle, police said. A total of nine people were taken to area hospitals, four of whom were initially reported in serious to critical condition, fire officials said.

The department’s Traffic Review Boad will analyze the officers’ decisions to pursue, officials said.

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