A teenage woman from Chicago who has been charged with killing an Uber driver randomly attacked the person with a knife and a machete that she had simply stolen from Walmart, authorities say.
Eliza Wasni, 16, stored her eyes principally to the ground Wednesday afternoon as a Cook County decide ordered her held with out bond within the killing of Grant Nelson of Wilmette — an act prosecutors referred to as “heinous” and “not provoked in any manner.”
Prosecutors stated Nelson, 34, had picked up Wasni a number of blocks from a Walmart in Skokie and, minutes into the experience, close to the nook of Touhy and Lincoln avenues in Lincolnwood, she started stabbing Nelson. He managed to tug over his Hyundai and run to a close-by condominium constructing foyer, the place he pushed buzzers yelling, “Help me, help me. I’m going to die,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Cunningham stated.
Wasni took off in Nelson’s automotive however shortly struck a median after which ran off on foot, the official stated. She was discovered close by sporting only a bra and leggings; a blood-stained Chicago Cubs shirt was discovered close by, and a path of blood led responding officers to the condominium foyer after which to the critically injured Uber driver, Cunningham stated in courtroom. Police have been in a position to make use of the Uber app on his telephone to see that “Eliza” was the identify of his most up-to-date buyer, the prosecutor stated.
She referred to as Nelson a “random victim.”
Nelson, who attended New Trier High School in Winnetka and the University of Colorado Boulder, described his attacker to police however died later at a close-by hospital, officers stated.
Surveillance footage from Walmart confirmed Wasni strolling concerning the retailer with a knife and machete after which leaving with out paying for them, the prosecutor stated. She stated Wasni had taken two earlier Uber rides that night, together with one to Des Plaines and one other from Des Plaines to Walmart. She was apparently in violation of the journey-sharing firm’s phrases and circumstances, which say clients have to be a minimum of 18 years previous.
Wasni spoke through the bond courtroom listening to solely to verify her identify. Her lawyer, a public defender, stated she attends Taft High School in Chicago and lives with a single mom.
Wasni has been charged as an grownup with first-diploma homicide. Judge Michael Hood ordered her to be held with out bail and referred to as the crime “extremely violent.”
An official with the Cook County Sheriff’s workplace stated Wasni might be held in a juvenile facility.
Outside the courtroom, Nelson’s brother, Todd Nelson, referred to as him “the most gentle, kind person. He never hurt anyone. He was good to animals, he was good to children.”
Grant Nelson, stated his brother, beloved opera and classical piano and was a “very good” piano participant. He had additionally beforehand labored at Di Pescara restaurant in Northbrook, a supervisor there confirmed.
“He was just trying to do the best he could in life,” Todd Nelson stated.
His sister, Alexandra Nelson, added the household hopes “justice will happen” for the assault, which she referred to as “horrifying and maddening.”
The siblings, in addition to their mother and father, have been within the courtroom in the course of the listening to. Alexandra Nelson sat behind her father with her hand on his shoulder as an outline of the alleged crime was learn by the prosecutor. Family members sobbed at occasions through the proceedings, together with when officers described Grant Nelson begging for assist in the foyer earlier than he was discovered on the bottom outdoors in a pool of blood with a number of stab wounds on his proper aspect.
An Uber spokeswoman issued a press release Wednesday saying the corporate is “heartbroken by the loss of one of our partners, Grant Nelson. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”
Regarding the corporate’s 18-and-over age restriction for patrons, the spokeswoman later defined that a rider’s entry to the service may be eliminated if the rider is discovered to be underage, and that there’s a mechanism for drivers to studies riders if they think them of being youthful than 18.
The spokeswoman stated Uber has security ideas for each drivers and riders, developed with the help of regulation-enforcement businesses. She additionally stated that drivers are inspired to contact native authorities in the event that they ever really feel unsafe, and that the app has a two-means suggestions system that’s monitored across the clock by a group who investigates any issues which are reported.
Grace Wong is a Tribune reporter; Susan Berger and Brian L. Cox are freelance reporters. Tribune reporter Nereida Moreno contributed.