The woman charged with killing a pedestrian early Sunday, May 22, on the new I-74 bike/pedestrian path has had 31 other cases against her in Rock Island County, dating back to 1994.
Chhabria A. Harris, 46, of East Moline, is being held on $2-million bond on 10 charges, surrounding her drunk driving in an SUV on the 14-foot-wide path between Bettendorf and Moline. Police were dispatched to the pedestrian walkway on the new 1-74 bridge in Moline at approximately 1:56 a.m. on Sunday, May 22.
Officers found three victims who had been struck by a vehicle that drove through the walkway. One victim, Ethan L. Gonzalez, 21, of Moline, was declared dead at the scene. The other two victims’ names have not been released. They remain in critical condition.
Harris’s criminal history dates back to Nov. 15, 1994 when she was 18 years old. Twenty-three of those 31 cases are traffic violations, one of which was a DUI on Jan. 17, 2014. The court records note two criminal misdemeanors and one felony. On May 22, 2022, Harris was driving under the influence of alcohol, and is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on June 7 at 8:30 a.m. to face the new charges.
DOT taking other safety measures
On Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Transportation issued a statement, saying it was “deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place early Sunday morning and we are committed to preventing incidents like this from happening in the future.”
The 4,000-foot-long path was built to separate users on bike or foot from the vehicle traffic on the bridge, using concrete barriers and other safety features.
“On Sunday, the driver involved in the incident was able to access the path at its entrance,” in Bettendorf, the DOT said. The state is working with Moline and Bettendorf to take “immediate action to protect those using the path by implementing temporary measures, including the placement of large concrete planters on the sidewalks and curbs leading to the river bridge path, to create an additional physical barrier between the roadway and the path.
“In addition, we will soon install new signage and pavement markings on the path to provide more visual cues for motorists,” the Iowa DOT said. “Further solutions will be implemented as we gather more information about the incident and determine the best ways to help prevent future incidents, while balancing the need for emergency and maintenance vehicles to quickly and safely access the path.”
Two other pedestrians from the Sunday crash — an 18-year-old male and a 22-year-old male, both of Moline — are in critical condition, police said.
The crash is still under investigation by the Moline Police Department Traffic Unit and the Criminal Investigation Division. Anyone with information is asked to call the Moline Police Department at 309-797-0401.