The man accused of trying to run over a group of friends celebrating a birthday in Logan Square on Saturday allegedly told a witness, “Watch what I’m going to do,” before he sped his truck toward the victims.
Timothy Nielsen, 57, was ordered held without bail on Monday after he was charged with four counts of attempted murder following his arrest Saturday evening.
According to Cook County prosecutors, the victims had gathered for a picnic in the 2900 block of West Logan Boulevard to enjoy the warm weather and celebrate one of their friend’s birthdays.
Nielsen allegedly drove up to the group in his Ford F-150 at around 5:17 p.m. and began complaining to them about the behavior of their dogs. Prosecutors said he became “increasingly hospital” toward the group as they asked him to leave the area.
Nielsen, who had initially parked parallel to the group, then allegedly backed up, positioned his truck so it was pointing toward the victims, and then accelerated toward them. The truck failed to clear the curb at first, but Nielsen got the vehicle onto the grass and drove toward the group.
Prosecutors said one person was struck as they attempted to flee, while a woman was hit and pinned under the truck. Both survived and were treated for their injuries. Two other people were able to avoid the truck without getting hit.
In addition to striking the victims, Nielsen also allegedly drove over multiple bicycles and a Yeti cooler, which became lodged under the front of the vehicle and prevented it from moving further.
Members of the victim group then attempted to get Nielsen out of the truck, prosecutors said, but he pulled out a knife and began slashing at them, striking and scratching one person in the arm. Another witness who watched the incident unfold was able to get both the knife and the truck’s keys away from Nielsen, according to prosecutors, who was then arrested on scene.
A witness who had been watering plants in a nearby alley told police that just prior to the attack, Nielsen had driven up to him and began complaining about “the yuppies on the boulevard who are out with their dogs.”
Nielsen then allegedly told that witness, “Watch what I’m going to do,” before speeding out of the alley. Less than 30 seconds later, the witness said they could hear yelling and screaming coming from nearby.
Other witnesses at the scene told media outlets over the weekend they had overheard Nielsen yell anti-Asian remarks at the victims before the attack.
In denying bond, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. said that rather than a gun, the defendant’s alleged “weapon of choice” was a “two-ton vehicle,” which can “do just as much damage.”
Nielsen is due back in court for a hearing May 10.