Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 8 years, 5 months, 8 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: District 21, 35th Precinct - Shakespeare
District of Incident (Present Day): 017 - Albany Park
Cause of Death: Crash - Automobile
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 21 Aug 1873
Date of Appointment: 22 Mar 1906
Date of Incident: 017 - Albany Park
End of Watch: 30 Aug 1914
Date of Interment: 01 Sep 1914
Cemetery: St. James at Sag Bridge Cemetery - Lemont, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-3
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 18
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 44
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 13-W: 11
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Detective Sergeant John J. Prendergast, Star #375, aged 41 years, was an 8 year, 5 month, 8 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to District 21, 35th Precinct – Shakespeare.
On August 30, 1914, at 2:15 a.m., Detective Sergeant Prendergast and his partner Detective Sergeant John Kostizewski had arrested John Dayle of 3551 West Wolfram Street for several saloon burglaries. Detective Sergeant Prendergast was in the process of transporting Dayle to the Shakespeare Avenue Station and had just alighted from a Crawford Avenue (present day Pulaski Road) streetcar. They were waiting on a corner at the intersection of Milwaukee and Crawford Avenues with ten other people. Detective Sergeant Prendergast was intending to board the next Southbound Milwaukee Avenue streetcar. While waiting, an automobile containing five intoxicated men approached at a high rate of speed, approximately 50 mph. Detective Sergeant Prendergast shouted a warning to the citizens while Kostizewski pulled the prisoner to safety. While in the act of warning the pedestrians of the approaching danger he was unable to reach safety himself and was struck. The force of the collision killed him instantly. The vehicle continued to speed away without slowing; Detective Sergeant Kostizewski firing five shots at the vehicle in an attempt to make it stop. Detective Sergeant Kostizewski and the witnesses were unable to make out the license plate of the fleeing auto.
Eventually two arrests were made in the case. On September 12, 1914, George Teleff, driver of the automobile, and Frederick Bartells, passenger, were arrested, charged with manslaughter and held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner. The October 1914 Grand Jury returned a No Bill on Bartells and a True Bill for Teleff. On January 23, 1915, Tellef was acquitted by Judge Honore.
Detective Sergeant Prendergast was waked at his residence located at 2325 West Ohio Street. He was laid to rest on September 1, 1914 in St. James at Sag Bridge Cemetery, 10600 South Archer Avenue, Lemont, Illinois.
Detective Sergeant John J. Prendergast, born August 21, 1873, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 22, 1906 and was issued Star #3786. On November 8, 1913, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Class Detective Sergeant, becoming effective on November 10, 1913 and his title being officially changed by order of the city council on January 11, 1915. On April 1, 1914, he was issued Detective Sergeant Star #375.
Sergeant Prendergast was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association. He was survived by his wife, Nora; children: Kileen and Mary; mother and siblings: James and Josephine.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #4737.