Wilmette teen motorist faces charge for fleeing scene after killing pedestrian
A rising New Trier High School senior was charged Wednesday in a fatal hit-and-run car accident in July.
Graham Weissbluth, 18, of Wilmette, faces a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident in Lincolnwood that killed Marcia Morris, a 63-year-old woman from Chicago who was walking on Touhy Avenue. This story was first reported by WGN and Patch.com.
Lincolnwood Police Chief Jay Parrot told The Record that a department investigation revealed Weissbluth was driving a 2019 Santa Fe that struck Morris around 9 p.m. on July 18 in the 3300 block of Touhy.
The accident location is just outside of the Lincolnwood Town Center, a shopping mall and district at Touhy and McCormick Boulevard.
Weissbluth then fled the accident scene, Parrot said. Morris was found unresponsive in the roadway and was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, he said.
According to court documents, after the incident, Weissbluth went to his Wilmette home before returning to the scene that night with his father. The pair reportedly then returned back to their home, where the father told the mother of the fatal hit-and-run.
“Neither the defendant nor his parents contacted police,” it says in Weissbluth’s bond proffer.
The document also says authorities recovered text messages in which Weissbluth admitted the crime to a friend.
A day later, on July 19, the police department reportedly received a call from Weissbluth’s attorney who requested to bring in his client the following day, July 20.
The Record was unable to reach Weissbluth’s attorney and did not receive a response from the the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office by press time.
Police interviewed the 18-year-old who reportedly admitted to striking Morris with his vehicle. Parrot said the department then continued its investigation.
“The subject did leave the scene but we do have to do a whole investigation,” Parrot said. “We don’t want to charge him with one thing and not with something else. It needed further investigation.”
The department gathered video evidence and a witness statement and examined Weissbluth’s car, Parrot said.
Video reportedly showed the Santa Fe striking Morris, who was walking westbound along the center line of Touhy Avenue, the proffer says. Morris’ fingerprints were found on Weissbluth’s car and damage to the car matched evidence found at the scene, documents say.
Parrot said that Weissbluth’s decision to flee the scene disrupted the department’s investigation, which produced no other evidence of a crime. Parrot said additional charges against Weissbluth are not expected.
“There is a clear indicator in the law that someone should stop (after an accident) or they are criminally liable, as is with this case,” he said. “Not stopping does not allow us to complete a timely investigation. Whether someone is impaired when driving is something that is an unknown and coming in two days later, it is difficult to obtain. And there are no indicators for us to say he was or was not (impaired).”
The court issued Graham Weissbluth a $50,000 I Bond, and his next court date is Sept. 8 at the Skokie courthouse.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319