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Off-duty Chicago police officer cited, relieved of powers in deadly Near North Side crash, sources say

Sources: CPD officer relieved of duties after fatal pedestrian crash
Sources: CPD officer relieved of duties after fatal pedestrian crash 02:18

CHICAGO (CBS) – The driver behind the wheel in a deadly crash in downtown Chicago was an off-duty Chicago police officer, law enforcement sources told CBS 2.

The officer has now been relieved of her duties.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported that the officer was on her cell phone at the time of the crash.

On Thursday, Chicago police confirmed the driver received four citations, including using her cell phone while driving. Police also confirmed the officer sources identified as being to blame for the crash have been relieved of her police powers.

Driver in deadly crash was off-duty Chicago police officer, sources say 02:11

Police wouldn't confirm anything else about the driver, other than that they were still investigating the crash.

Law enforcement sources told CBS 2 it was an off-duty Near North (18th) District officer who was driving the white Infiniti on State Street just north of the Chicago River bridge around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday when she lost control of her car.

Sources said the officer dropped her cell phone and went to pick it up – but overcorrected the car to avoid crossing the median – and then jumped the curb struck and killed a 56-year-old woman on the sidewalk near the House of Blues.

The victim, later identified as 56-year-old Maria Schwab of Shertz, Texas, by the Medical Examiner's Office, was taken to nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead.

Pedestrian struck, killed by car driven by off-duty CPD officer on Near North Side identified 00:40

A Facebook post shows there was a Chicago Police Department holiday party going on at the House of Blues Wednesday night, but it was unclear if the off-duty officer was coming from that gathering.

Illinois Secretary of State records show the SUV was registered in the officer's name, but CBS 2 is not publishing her name because she has not been charged with a crime as of Thursday afternoon.

The driver was cited for failing to reduce speed, failing to keep in a lane, negligent driving, and driving while using a cell phone.

"It's an accident," said CBS 2 Lega Analyst Irv Miller, "and accidents don't put people in jail."

Miller said even though the crash killed a pedestrian, it will not necessarily rise to the level of criminal charges unless facts come to light that shows the driver was more than negligent. He added that "99% of the time that there's an accident, it's a civil case."

"That doesn't mean to say that facts won't come in the future," Miller said. "They can upgrade these charges because that could happen, but when you're talking about a 'negligent act,' it's a civil case. It's not a criminal case."

The victim worked for the curriculum and assessment company Amplify.

"The entire Amplify community is deeply saddened and grieving this sudden loss," the company said in a statement. "We will do everything in our power to support this person's family and all of our colleagues as we process this senseless tragedy."

Off-duty Chicago police officer cited in deadly Near North Side crash, sources say 01:49

Also, as of Thursday afternoon, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office was performing an autopsy on the woman who was killed.

Chicago Police late Thursday said the investigation was still ongoing.

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