Police say they know which driver killed Tiffany Borre. Why hasn’t he been charged?
Tragically, in March of 2020 a driver fatally struck Tiffany Borre, 40, the mother of three children, in northwest-suburban Leyden Township and left the scene without having the decency to render aid. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that while the Cook County Sheriff’s Office says it has identified the motorist, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against him.
On March 19, 2020, at 2:30 a.m., Borre was walking at the intersection of Mannheim Road and Nevada Avenue, near Franklin Park, when the driver struck her and fled, police said. At this location Mannheim, aka US-12, is a seven lane highway, which encourages potentially deadly speeds.
“He struck my sister at 2:30 in the morning, and left her in the street like a dog,” Tiffany’s twin brother Sean Borre recently told NBC Chicago. “He drove straight to his home and called a lawyer.” He said that days ago the state’s attorney’s office contacted him and told him they would not press charges.
Sean’s wife Jennifer Kropke launched a petition last year calling for the driver to be prosecuted, which has garnered more than 850 signatures. According to a statement from Kropke on the web page, there was surveillance video of the car, including the license plate, and the sheriff’s office impounded the vehicle the day after the crash. While the driver wasn’t visible in the footage, a seatbelt buckle swab identified the suspect’s DNA and no one else’s, Kropke wrote.
“Our [Freedom of Information Act request] (specifically the video of her being struck) is being held in contingency of us signing a waiver of liability so we can’t sue the state, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office or the person who they clearly know killed my sister,” Kropke stated. “Also, the [Crime Scene Investigation] report they gave us had the results of the DNA test the police already told us came back a match to him, completely redacted.”
Kropke also claimed on the petition that the “suspect’s mother used to work for the Cook County jail and [Illinois Department of Human Services]… I believe they are trying to protect the man who killed my sister-in-law.” A December 2, 2021 update on the petition stated that the family has been contacted by an Illinois state representative who was interested in looking into the case.
Sean Borre recently told ABC that the police detectives diligently pursued the case, saying “‘We’ve got him. We have warrants, DNA, his car, video evidence.'” However, the state’s attorney’s office said they didn’t want to file charges because they didn’t have an image of the suspect behind the wheel during the crash.
The state’s attorney’s office provided a statement to NBC: “After a thorough review of the information presented by police, we concluded that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.”
However, the sheriff’s office disagreed, requesting a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, but the state’s attorney’s office turned down the request.
The sheriff’s office disagreed with that assessment, seeking a charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury/fatal accident against an individual, but that charge was not approved. Sean Borre told NBC his family still hopes to change the prosecutors’ minds.
“The failure of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to bring charges in the Tiffany Borre case is not that different than many other instances that have frustrated Cook County residents,” said attorney Michael Keating, who specializes in pedestrian and bike cases. (Keating is a Streetsblog Chicago sponsor.) “Despite the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s extensive efforts to apprehend an alleged perpetrator, despite substantial physical and circumstantial evidence, and despite a cooperative grieving family, our elected prosecutor’s office has simply chosen to take the easy route and say this case might be too hard.”
“Part of the solution to the scourge of traffic violence that plagues our communities is to aggressively prosecute those drivers that put our citizens in harm’s way and cause harm,” Keating added. “Cook County residents should be able to expect that traffic offenders will be prosecuted with the intensity that they should.”
“Such a sad situation,” commented pedestrian and bike case attorney Brendan Kevenides (also a Streetsblog Chicago sponsor.) “The prosecutor’s refusal to bring criminal charges is not shocking, however. Unfortunately, I am used to seeing prosecutors in Illinois decline to bring charges despite strong evidence in cases where a pedestrian or person on a bicycle is killed unless the case is perfect. That may be because the standard for a conviction in criminal cases is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
He noted that, should Tiffany Borre’s family file a civil suit against the suspect, the burden of proof would be lower, and the suspect would be unable to plead the 5th Amendment to avoid answering questions about whether he was driving at the time of the crash. “If he testifies that he was driving, I don’t see why that evidence couldn’t be passed along to the SA for criminal prosecution, assuming the relevant statute of limitations hadn’t barred doing so.”