A Chicago man was charged with attempted murder after allegedly driving his car to a picnic, according to police. Witnesses said the man also made anti-Asian comments during the incident, according to local news outlets.
Timothy Nielsen, 57, was arrested Saturday and charged with four attempted murders after “deliberately jumping the curb in his vehicle and crashing into a group of pedestrians gathering for a picnic,” according to the Chicago Police Department .
Police said Nielsen hit a 42-year-old woman with his truck before she was briefly trapped under the vehicle. The woman, who was seriously injured, was taken to a nearby hospital and, according to police, has been treated for “cuts and other injuries and has since been released.”
Nielsen parked his car near a group of people celebrating their birthday with a picnic on Saturday, Block Club Chicago reported. Prosecutors and witnesses said Nielsen had complained about the bad behavior of the group’s dogs and had become increasingly hostile, the publication reported. When the group told Nielsen to leave, he turned and accelerated the truck in the direction of the group.
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Rob Lopez, one of the picnickers, told Block Club that he heard the driver make anti-Asian comments on his friend, who is Asian-American.
Nick Lau, a picnicker who is Asian American, told the Chicago Tribune that the driver yelled an anti-Asian bow.
Prosecutors did not mention the anti-Asian comments in a hearing on Monday and instead said Nielsen told a neighbor he was “upset about yuppies” out with their dogs, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Cook County prosecutors confirmed Nielsen will appear again on May 10 after a judge ordered him to be detained without bail.
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Nielsen is accused of riding over bicycles, chairs, and a radiator and hitting a person who is trying to escape before hitting the woman who fell and was pinned under the car, according to the Block Club. The radiator got stuck under the truck, preventing it from moving any further, and allowing the woman to escape, prosecutors said the Block Club.
Prosecutors said when witnesses tried to pull Nielsen out of the truck, he brandished a knife and scratched his arm, Block Club reported.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Nielsen pleaded guilty to escalating the kidnapping in 1989 after posing as a police officer before beating a man and detaining him as a ransom. The newspaper also reported that Nielsen once admitted smashing glass near the eye of a man who had head trauma and a cut that required five stitches. According to the Sun-Times, he was convicted of extortion in 2001 and retail theft in 2012.
Contact News Now reporter Christine Fernando at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.