An Uber driver from Wilmette, Illinois, was fatally stabbed without provocation by a 16-year-old schoolgirl with a machete she had stolen from a store in suburban Chicago on Tuesday. Prosecutors identified the attacker and concluded that the stabbing was “not provoked in any manner.”
‘Help Me. I’m Going to Die’
Authorities deemed the attack as ‘heinous’ before charging Eliza Wasni, 16, with first degree murder. On Wednesday, a judge ordered for the girl to be held without bail in the fatal stabbing of 34-year-old driver Grant Nelson.
According to court documents, the girl had had two other Uber rides before she landed in Nelson’s car after leaving a Walmart store without paying for a knife and machete she took from the shelves.
The police said that a couple of minutes later, she started stabbing the driver from the backseat. The driver was able to pull over and seek shelter in the lobby of a nearby apartment building where he screamed for help.
Witnesses say they heard Nelson screaming “Help me, help me. I’m going to die,” which prompted them to call 911. In the meantime, the teen drove off in the man’s Honda. After hitting a median, she tried to escape on foot.
The police said they found the driver by following a blood trail. The driver was rushed to a hospital where he died. The schoolgirl was found hiding behind an office’s AC unit miles from the crime scene.
Cook County State’s Attorney Michelle Cunningham noted that when police officers found her she was still armed but refused to drop her weapons. One of the law enforcement agents was able to approach her and tase her before the arrest.
Investigators analyzed Nelson’s phone and found that his last customer was Wasni who went by the alias “Eliza”.
Teen Had Stolen Knife, Machete from Walmart
Prosecutors said that the Walmart store Wasni visited before killing the driver gave them video footage showing the girl leaving the store with a knife and a machete without paying. Police underlined that the girl booked the ride while violating the ride-sharing company’s conditions which require clients to be at least 18 years old if they ride unaccompanied.
Wasni’s attorney confirmed she is from Chicago where she lives with her single mother. She is a student at Taft High School.
A spokesperson from the company said that Uber was “heartbroken” by the loss of one of its drivers. The company sent out their deepest sympathies and prayers to the driver’s grieving family and friends.
The driver’s brother, Todd, told reporters that Nelson was kind to children and animals and never hurt anyone. The driver’s sister, Alexandra, voiced hope that justice would be served after labeling the killing as “horrifying and maddening”. The woman noted that her brother was not a cruel person, so, he didn’t deserve the fate.
Prosecution is still waiting for the necropsy report. Authorities said that this is the first murder in Lincolnwood in 11 years.
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