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United Center worker faces DUI and other charges in death of homeless man

PatriciCucinott/ phofrom police News Affairs

Patricia Cucinotta / photo from police News Affairs

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Updated: January 17, 2014 4:56PM



A United Center food service employee had just left the KISS FM Jingle Ball concert after she drunkenly rammed her car into a homeless man and killed him, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

Patricia Cucinotta admitted she had a few “tequila shots” before police said she hit 56-year-old John Deweese from behind, crashing into him so hard, he was thrown into the air.

Deweese, who was pushing a grocery cart, landed on Cucinotta’s vehicle’s hood before landing on the cold pavement that night on Dec. 9, assistant state’s attorney Naheda Zayyad-Hussien said.

Seconds earlier, another United Center employee saw Cucinotta, 53, driving away from the venue’s parking lot at a high rate of speed despite the snow and ice on the ground, Zayyad-Hussien said.

Cucinotta continued driving in the 300 block of South Damen, blocking both lanes of traffic as she drove up a curb and hit Deweese, Zayyad-Hussien said.

Cucinotta drove away without calling 911 or helping Deweese, Zayyad-Hussien said.

It was a co-worker who alerted authorities.

Deweese was taken to the Stroger Hospital where he died seven days later of traumatic brain injuries.

When Cucinotta was contacted by police five days after the accident, she had sent her car to the repair shop, Zayyad-Hussien said.

At the auto shop, a technician showed officers how Cucinotta’s car looked before it went through some repairs.

The police recovered the hood and Cucinotta allegedly admitted she had been drinking at the concert and “may have hit someone” afterward.

Cucinotta, of the 3200 block of South Lowe, was ordered held in lieu of $75,000 bail Friday for aggravated DUI involving a death and failure to report an accident involving a death.

Email: rhussain@suntimes.com

Twitter: @rummanahussain



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