CHICAGO (CBS) -- The father of a 25-year-old woman who was left paralyzed after a friend drove his car over an embankment following a night of drinking, said he can't understand how her friend just left her there and took a cab home to Naperville.
WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports four people were hospitalized on Sept. 13, after the car they were in sped off the end of the road along the 700 block of West Erie Street, and dropped onto a set of railroad tracks below.
Cook County prosecutors said 28-year-old Philip Cho was driving, and left his four passengers in the crumpled car, then hailed a cab to flee the scene.
The five friends had been out at a nearby club Saturday night and early Sunday morning, and prosecutors said Cho's passengers were pleading with him to slow down as he sped along Erie just before the crash.
Kelsey Ibach, 25, was left paralyzed from the waist down. Her father, Bob Ibach, called Cho a coward.
"I just can't understand in my heart how somebody can leave, and run off across railroad tracks, catch a cab, and go back to Naperville, and leave all those people there, and my daughter pleading in the back seat – she told me – to please call 911. He ran off. I can't wrap my hands around that at all," he said.
To make matters worse, Cho allegedly asked his injured friends to cover for him before he took off.
"It's on videotape, I understand. 'Hey dude, lose the keys. Let's make this look like a hijacking," Bob Ibach said.
He said, as his daughter lie on the ground, she thought "I just want to die."
"She said to me, 'I saw the paramedics, and I looked into their lights, and I said God saved me for a reason. I want to live and make something of my life,'" he said. "That's the spirit that Kelsey has. She's a great, great young lady."
Cho has been charged with a felony count of failure to report an accident resulting in injury, and two other misdemeanor charges.
Bob Ibach said he'd have more compassion if Cho had not run from a drunk driving crash several years ago.
He said his daughter's spirits are great after three surgeries.
"She said, 'Dad, I'm going to walk again. I will walk again," he said.
Doctors are not so sure.
"Her spinal column is intact. It was not severed. That was good news," Bob Ibach said. "I promised her, whether or not she walks again or not, I will carry her or walk her down the aisle."
Kelsey's family and friends are raising funds for her care on GoFundMe, and posting updates on her condition on CaringBridge.org. Nearly 200 people have pledged more than $21,000 for her medical expenses.
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