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Man sustains multiple injuries when struck by alleged drunken driver

By Laura Bollin

A 30-year-old Oak Lawn man has been charged with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an injury accident for allegedly striking a 62-year-old man with the vehicle he was driving following an evening at a local tavern.

Eric J. Smok, of Oak Lawn, was arrested at 12:39 a.m. Jan. 6. Smok was reportedly driving south in the 9500 block of New England Avenue when he struck John Stifter, who was walking south in the road. The collision reportedly threw Stifter into the air, and left him with multiple facial fractures, a fractured ankle, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and a fractured scapula.

Stifter was charged with pedestrian walking on a highway when a sidewalk is provided, police said.

Smok and Stifter know each other, and both had been drinking earlier that evening at Tavern on the West End, 6950 W. 95th St. Smok had been at the bar with his girlfriend, who works as a bartender there, police said.

Following the collision, Smok exited his car to ask if Stifter was okay, recognized him as a man he had met at the tavern, then drove away, police said. Witnesses' descriptions of the vehicle reportedly led police to the vehicle, which was in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 9800 block of Ridgeland Avenue, police said. Smok was found inside an apartment and was arrested, police said. He was also charged with driving with an obstructed windshield, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to give aid.