By RUMMANA HUSSAIN
Jonathan Gonzalez and Emmanuel Diaz were pals once. But the friendship soured when Gonzalez became convinced that Diaz had romantic feelings for his wife.
The men confronted each other one last time in February, a roadside encounter that turned deadly, Cook County prosecutors claim.
Diaz, 32, ended up hitting Gonzalez with his Nissan Sentra then fled from the 8900 block of Belmont Avenue, Assistant State’s Attorney Ed Murillo said in court on March 1, when Diaz was charged with failure to report an accident involving a death.
That charge may be upgraded after the Cook County medical examiner’s office this week ruled Gonzalez’ death a homicide.
Back in March, assistant public defender claimed the 34-year-old Gonzalez had stopped his Chevrolet Impala right behind Diaz, got out of his car and approached the driver’s side of the Sentra.
Right before Gonzalez was hit on the night of Feb. 21, he and his wife had driven to a friend’s apartment on the Northwest Side. While they were in a parking lot nearby, Diaz drove up, Murillo said.
Diaz briefly got out of his car to yell something at another motorist, who eventually drove away, Murillo said. When Diaz got back behind the driver’s seat, both he and Gonzalez swerved their vehicles at each other.
Diaz continued westbound; he was stopped at a red light when Gonzalez exited his car and came up to him, Murillo said.
Diaz reacted by driving around Gonzalez’s Impala–Gonzalez’s wife was still inside it–and then struck Gonzalez, who was standing outside his vehicle, Murillo said.
Diaz then drove west on Belmont as Gonzalez’s wife rushed to her husband’s side and tried to perform CPR, Murillo said.
Gonzalez, who suffered fractures and a subdural hematoma, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. The Melrose Park resident later died there, authorities said.
Gonzalez’s wife and another motorist who was at the same stop light identified Diaz as the driver who hit Gonzalez, Murillo said.
Diaz, a Franklin Park resident, turned himself in to police on Feb. 28.
“He surrendered and did a the right thing,” the assistant public defender said of the father of four.
Judge Peggy Chiampas allowed Diaz to either post a $5,000 bond or be released on his own recognizance if eligible for electronic monitoring.
Chiampas said he can leave home only to go to work at the electrical company where he is employed; or to school, while he awaits trial. The judge also said Diaz, an East Leyden High School graduate, cannot drive while his case is pending.