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'It's scary on the CTA right now:' TV host Will Clinger hospitalized after being robbed, attacked on CTA Red Line

TV host Will Clinger attacked, robbed on CTA Red Line 03:05

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Multiple violent attacks were reported on the CTA Red Line in fewer than 24 hours – two of them occurred only half a mile apart.

On Tuesday night, the well-known victim of one of the attacks talked exclusively to CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov.

The attack happened Monday evening at the Addison Street Red Line stop alongside Wrigley Field. The victim was actor Will Clinger – the former host of the WTTW-Channel 11 program "Wild Chicago" and the current host of "Wild Travels."

On Tuesday night, Clinger remained in intensive care after being attacked. He said he never saw it coming.

Police were called around 9 p.m. Monday as Clinger, 64, lay unconscious on the Red Line Addison stop's platform.

"I was definitely taken by surprise, Dana – in a big way," Clinger said.

On Tuesday night, Clinger shared a picture of himself in the hospital and talked to Kozlov by phone – while waiting for a second CAT scan after being hit in the head.

Will Clinger

He said he ran after a pair who suddenly reached out and grabbed his phone as he sat on the train. They ran as the doors opened at Addison, and he ran after them.

"There must have been a second guy next to the other door who got out and waylaid me with a pipe or something as I was chasing, because all I remember is running and suddenly falling – and I don't even remember hitting the pavement," Clinger said.

That is the last he remembers before waking up in the hospital with a brain bleed and contusion.

Clinger hosted the popular Channel 11 show "Wild Chicago" for about 11 years - taking over from original host Ben Hollis in 1992, and continuing until 2003. He first co-hosted the show with Laura Meagher, then hosted solo along with a team of local actors who served as "Wild Correspondents." 

At 4:40 a.m. Monday, several hours before Clinger was attacked, there was another violent attack on the Red Line just a stop to the south. Chicago Police released community alert about a suspect who stabbed and robbed a 44-year-old man on a train at the Belmont station early Monday morning.

"We have individuals out here that feel like they can do whatever they want to do and get away with it," Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President and Business Agent Eric Dixon told CBS 2's Tara Molina on Tuesday.

Dixon was responding to concerns about violence on the Chicago Transit Authority system, and to information obtained by CBS 2 that police have suspended investigations into five other violent CTA attacks.

"It's scary on the CTA right now, apparently," Clinger said.

Clinger said he will be more careful at night with his phone, but believes the CTA needs to step up.

Clinger stresses not to do what he did and chase someone if they steal from you. He was expected to be released from the hospital within the hours to come as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The Chicago Police Public Transportation Section said officers on Monday night arrested a suspect they say snatched a phone on a Red Line train at the Thorndale station in Edgewater at 7:42 p.m. The same suspect is believed to have been involved in the attack on Clinger at 8:30 p.m. that night.

No charges had been announced late Tuesday.

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