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Nanny hailed for saving toddler from path of Streets and Sanitation truck

This is phoTyler's  nanny Jennifer AntTyler Jones.  |  Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

This is a photo of Tyler's nanny, Jennifer Anton and Tyler Jones. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: June 25, 2011 12:24AM

When nanny Jennifer Anton saw the white pickup truck careening toward her on the downtown sidewalk Saturday afternoon, she instinctively pushed away the stroller carrying her 20-month-old charge.

Little Tyler Jones was hospitalized but spared critical injuries because of her caregiver’s quick actions.

Anton was not as lucky.

“She’s an angel on this earth,” said Hugh Jones, Tyler’s father. “There’s no question that from the eyewitness accounts she pushed the stroller away and took the rather colossal hit herself.”

Anton, 25, remained in serious condition Monday, one of seven people injured after prosecutors said Dwight Washington, a 61-year-old Chicago Streets and Sanitation laborer, plowed into a group of people in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

He was driving a city Ford F-150 pickup with an open bottle of E&J Brandy next to him, said Lorraine Scaduto, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney. His blood-alcohol level was .183, more than twice the legal limit for driving, she said.

All seven injured were hospitalized, and Anton was one of two people initially in critical condition, Scaduto said.

“Basically [Anton’s] bones from the waist below were shattered,” Scaduto said at Washington’s bond hearing Monday morning.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan ordered Washington held on $400,000 bond. He is charged with four counts of felony aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of misdemeanor DUI, according to police. He was also cited for transporting open alcohol in a vehicle, failure to reduce speed and negligent driving.

He and the City of Chicago also face two lawsuits filed Monday on behalf of Anton and Tyler Jones.

“This young nanny, she saved the girl’s life, and then she had the presence of mind at the scene to tell the fire department to go to her cell phone and how to get ahold of Tyler’s mother,” said Dan Kotin, Anton and Tyler’s attorney at Corboy & Demetrio. “It’s amazing what she did.”

Kotin said Anton fractured her pelvis, hips and legs. Skin tissue was torn off her legs, he said. She had “hardware” put in her body and is currently in traction, he said.

Tyler was discharged from Children’s Memorial Hospital but hasn’t been walking since the incident, he said. Kotin said her leg might be fractured.

Prosecutor Scaduto said in court that witnesses said Washington accelerated as he drove onto the curb at 7 E. Cedar around 12:20 p.m. The injured ranged from the 20-month-old Tyler to a 58-year-old. All were hospitalized, and one remains in critical condition with serious brain injuries and facial fractures, Scaduto said.

Washington has a clean state driving record, according to officials at the Secretary of State’s office.

Before the crash Saturday, Washington was involved in one job-related accident in March 2010, said Matt Smith, a Streets and Sanitation spokesman. Smith said Washington was found to have “contributed to the cause of a crash resulting in property damage. He underwent the required [drug] testing which came back negative.” Washington was given an “oral reprimand,” Smith said.

A public defender said in court Washington was a Vietnam veteran and father to two adult children.

Smith said the city was in the midst of termination proceedings against Washington. Washington was working as a laborer, collecting garbage and stray debris, Smith said.

Contributing: James Scalzitti, Art Golab

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