Retired priest charged in deadly Orland Park hit-and-run in court Tuesday

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ORLAND PARK, Ill. — Friends and family gathered for the funeral of a teacher killed in a hit-and-run in Orland Park, as the retired priest charged appeared in court.

The Rev. Paul Burak, 73, was charged with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident — both felonies. He appeared in a Bridgeview court Tuesday morning for a hearing, and the case was continued until Jan. 2.

Burak told investigators he blacked out before allegedly killing Margaret “Rone” Leja and injuring Elizabeth Kosteck after leaving a Christmas party they were all attending.

On Dec. 4, the teachers left the party at the Square Celt restaurant, at 39 Orland Square Drive, and were walking to their cars when they were struck by a vehicle.

Burak reportedly said he thought he had hit a curb before leaving the scene. He blamed medication for glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease, and admitted to having a cocktail and glass of wine at the party.

Funeral services for Leja was held Tuesday at St. Michaels Church, at 14327 Highland Avenue, at 12:15 p.m.


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