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Chicago cop charged in hit-and-run crash

(MCT) — Michael Bergeson stopped and called police from his cellphone after his pickup truck crashed into a woman riding her bicycle in August in the Logan Square neighborhood, authorities said.

But Cook County prosecutors alleged Thursday that Bergeson suddenly drove off when he heard ambulance sirens approaching.

What the off-duty Chicago police officer apparently didn't realize was that the front license plate from his truck had been knocked off in the crash and was found by police, authorities said.

On Thursday, prosecutors announced that the nine-year police veteran was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and filing a false police report, both felonies. Authorities said Bergeson, 33, tried to conceal his wrongdoing by claiming the bicyclist fled after striking his vehicle.

The victim, then 25, was knocked unconscious after being struck by the pickup truck, authorities said. She suffered facial injuries, fractured bones in her foot and bruises about her body.

Her boyfriend, a witness to the crash, told the Tribune in a telephone interview that his girlfriend had just finished her bartending job, and the two were riding their bikes home about 3:25 a.m. Aug. 3.

The boyfriend, who identified himself as Clayton Meyer, said he saw the pickup speeding and weaving in and out of lanes. The truck then ran a stop sign and struck his girlfriend's bicycle, he said.

Prosecutors said the woman was thrown briefly onto the hood of the pickup and hit her head near California and Wabansia avenues.

Meyer said the driver got out of the truck, acted confused and asked the woman if she was all right.

"To find out that he was a police officer and was not taking action at that point, that really surprises me," said Meyer, 29.

Authorities said Bergeson called 911 twice to tell police of the crash and that a woman had been injured. But he didn't identify himself, they said. Prosecutors said he then jumped back in his truck, drove around the victim and hit two parked cars before fleeing.

In addition to the license plate found at the scene, authorities said they determined from paint samples that Bergeson's truck struck the bike as well as the two parked cars.

Prosecutors said Bergeson filed a false report with police two days later and blamed the bicyclist for the wreck.

Chicago police said Bergeson has been relieved of his police powers and is working in an administrative post with pay.

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