No Bail For Man Charged With Plowing Truck Into Picnic Because Of ‘Yuppies’ With Dogs

Leighton Criminal Court Building
During a bond hearing Monday, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered Timothy Nielsen, 57, to be held without bail for the incident, which happened Saturday on the grass median of Logan Boulevard. Andrew Gill / WBEZ
Leighton Criminal Court Building
During a bond hearing Monday, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered Timothy Nielsen, 57, to be held without bail for the incident, which happened Saturday on the grass median of Logan Boulevard. Andrew Gill / WBEZ

No Bail For Man Charged With Plowing Truck Into Picnic Because Of ‘Yuppies’ With Dogs

A Chicago man charged with seriously injuring a woman with his Ford F-150 truck when he rammed into a group of picnickers will be held in jail without bail, a Cook County judge ruled Monday afternoon.

Timothy Nielsen, 57, faces four counts of attempted first-degree murder in the incident, which took place Saturday around 5:15 p.m. on the grass median of Logan Boulevard, officials say.

One of the picnickers told the news outlet Block Club Chicago this weekend he heard the driver make anti-Asian comments before plowing into the group.

The prosecutor at the bond hearing did not mention that allegation but said Nielsen’s alleged intent to kill was clear when he spoke with a neighbor in an alley shortly before the collision.

“The defendant told the witness he was annoyed by the yuppies on the boulevard who are out with their dogs,” Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

“The defendant then told that same individual, ‘Watch what I’m going to do,’” Scaduto said. “The defendant then sped down the alley.”

Scaduto said Nielsen confronted the group of picnickers, who had dogs.

When the group asked him to leave, according to Scaduto, he reversed the truck and accelerated toward the group but did not initially make it over the curb. He tried again, the prosecutor said, and cleared the curb.

“The way he reversed it first, the way he drove forward — the way he continued accelerating [when he] was unable to get over the curb — illustrated his intent,” Scaduto said. “His intent was to plow through that crowd and that is what he did.”

Nielsen’s truck hit bikes, lawn chairs and two people, the prosecutor said.

One of them was a 42-year-old woman who was “pinned and dragged” underneath the vehicle, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford, who said she suffered abrasions and a head injury and was taken in serious condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Then, according to Scaduto, Nielsen exited his truck and swung a knife at people, scratching one person.

A “brave witness” who was passing by the chaos managed to seize the knife and the keys to the pickup, the prosecutor said.

Scaduto, arguing for Nielsen to be denied pre-trial release, pointed to a felony record that includes a crime when he was 25 years old that she described as a kidnapping for ransom and beating after he posed as a police officer.

Nielsen did not speak at Monday’s hearing, an online proceeding, apart from acknowledging his presence. His attorney argued for house arrest with electronic monitoring, calling Saturday’s matter “an isolated incident.”

Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. sided with the prosecutors and ordered Nielsen held without bail.

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio about policing. Follow him at @ChipMitchell1. Contact him at cmitchell@wbez.org.