Man charged in Englewood fatal crash was free on $15K bond for attempted murder

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO — A man charged with reckless homicide after police said he fatally hit a woman when he ran a red light was free on cash bond for attempted murder.

Isaac Wade, 20, was arrested after police said he ran a red light on the 7400 block of South Racine Avenue around 11:50 a.m. Monday. Police said he lost control of the vehicle and fatally struck a 43-year-old Lakisel Thomas.

Thomas was a mother to three children, ages 23, 10 and four.

Lakisel Thomas

Wade was taken into custody at the scene and charged with felony reckless homicide with a motor vehicle, misdemeanor driving without a license and was cited for not displaying a state registration and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Yet, some question how Wade was initially freed?

Dennis Porter was the presiding judge who set the bond amount in Wade’s attempted murder case. Porter has since retired. The Chief Judge’s Office declined to comment Wednesday.

Surveillance video obtained by WGN shows the final moments of Lakisal Thomas’ life. The Englewood mother was crossing the street near 74th and Racine. A silver SUV blew through a red light, hitting a red car and Thomas. Seconds later, a grey police SUV raced through the intersection and officers immediately took Isaac Wade into custody.

Coincidentally, the fatal crash occurred on the same day Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a criminal justice reform bill. Among other things, it will eventually do away with cash bonds in favor of a system meant to gauge a person’s danger to the public.

“We need some answers,”  Lakisel’s aunt, Alice Marie Thomas told WGN Tuesday. “We need to know how this happened and why this happened.”

WGN Investigates has learned Wade was charged with attempted murder in 2017 for a shooting that seriously injured two teenagers in Gage Park on the city’s southwest side. He was also charged in 2016 with armed robbery, theft and unlawful use of a weapon.

But records obtained by WGN Investigates show Wade was able to buy his freedom while awaiting trial on that attempted murder charge for a $15,000 cash bond supplied by his father and uncle.

“We don’t have any answers and that’s highly unusual and that’s wrong,” said Nenye Uche, the Thomas family’s attorney, on Tuesday.

Uche and the Thomas family are seeking answers to several key questions:

  • Why was a man facing attempted murder charges able to get out of jail for a relatively small amount of money?
  • Why did police pull him over Monday a few blocks before the fatal crash scene? 
  • Why did officers give chase, inadvertently leading to the high-speed crash?

A source tells WGN Investigates that officers found a gun in the car after the crash. The source also adds no high-speed chase took place, however. Instead, officers followed the suspect’s car while broadcasting his license plate on police radio.

But it’s no solace for Lakisel’s family.

“It’s so hard knowing your baby is laying there on a cold hard slab,” Alice Marie Thomas told WGN Tuesday, “when this could have been avoided.”

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