In 2004, a nephew of Chicago’s then-mayor Richie Daley got into an altercation off of Rush Street, the Windy City’s alcohol-fueled playground for revelers and romancers. Taunts were thrown, obscenities exchanged, and in an instant, a kid from the suburbs, David Koschman, who was just 21 years old at the time, fell backwards, his head making an audible thump as it contacted the street.
Editor's note: This column orginally ran December 6th, 2012.
A friend says that he was unconscious before he hit the ground
According to witnesses R. J. Vanecko, a current Daley nephew and a former college lineman who weighed in a 230 pounds and stands 6-feet-3, either punched or shoved Koschman, who was 5-feet-5, 125 pounds, outside a bar after both had been drinking. Koschman never regained consciousness. He died from injuries 11 days later after his mother removed him from life support.
For eight years the Chicago police couldn’t find enough evidence, the Cook County State’s Attorney couldn’t find enough evidence, and the Illinois State Police couldn’t find enough evidence to indict Vanecko with a crime.
In fact, they could be barely trusted to investigate it as a crime. Somehow the felony file on the case ended up missing. True: They couldn’t find the file. Still can’t.
Oh, no. Not in Chicago!
The boys in blue, sworn “To serve and protect”, barely mumbled excuse after excuse; the detectives went on vacation; Vanecko’s friends changed their story; the police wrote down statements from Koschman’s friends that they say they never made…the usual Chicago drill of “serving and protecting.”
It’s great to be served and protected when you are “someone” in Chicago.
So it surprised all of us that on Monday, December 4, 2012, a grand jury finally indicted Vanecko for involuntary manslaughter, seven months after a judge ordered a special prosecutor in the case.