Funeral services according to the Jewish tradition were held for Grant Nelson, 34, an Uber driver who was murdered this week, allegedly by Eliza Wasni, 16. Nelson, of Willmette, Illinois, spent his final evening on this earth chatting with his parents and laughing with his brother at the dinner table. It was then that he received the fateful Uber alert that a customer was waiting. He left the table and drove away.
Nelson was hacked and stabbed to death, allegedly by a 16-year-old girl who stolen a knife and machete just moments before at a Walmart store in nearby Skokie, according to police. She is alleged to have perpetrated the premeditated, unprovoked attack at around 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday in Lincolnwood. Prosecutors said Wasni began stabbing Nelson just two minutes into the ride, near the corner of Touhy and Lincoln avenues in Lincolnwood. Nelson was able to pull over in his Hyndai and go to a nearby building lobby, where he pushed buzzers and yelled, "Help me, help me. I'm going to die," said Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Cunningham during the court proceedings. Prosecutors called Wasni's actions "heinous" and "not provoked in any manner."
Wasni drove off in Nelson’s vehicle but soon struck a traffic median and was halted. She then ran away on foot. A spoor of blood led police officers to the condominium lobby where they found the bloodied Nelson. He died a few hours later in hospital but not before giving a description of the girl. Police used the Uber app on Nelson’s phone in his blood-spattered car and found that "Eliza" was the name of his most recent customer, the prosecutor said. Nelson was described as a “random” victim by prosecutors. Eliza Wasni, 16, kept her eyes mostly to the floor Wednesday afternoon as a Cook County judge ordered her held without bail in the killing of Grant Nelson of Wilmette — an act prosecutors called "heinous" and "not provoked in any manner."
The 16-year-old Wasni has been charged as an adult and held without bond in a juvenile facility in Cook County. The two-page description offered by prosecutors of the ferocious attack gave no reason for the girl’s actions. She was described as otherwise a calm person who could be seen walking "nonchalantly" through the Walmart with the weapons in her hands before leaving the store without paying for them.
Basing their search on the description given by Nelson, police found Wasni crouching nearby behind an air conditioner, still bearing the implements of her crime. Wasni was wearing only a bra and leggings, having discarded the bloodied Chicago Cubs shirt she had worn in the Walmart. She was told to surrender and drop the weapons or face being shot with a Taser. She was Tasered when she did not comply. When she dropped the weapons, she was arrested and taken into custody. She did not make a statement. t. The shirt had blood on it.
Uber issued a statement, while giving assurances that it is cooperating with police. "We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our partners," Uber stated. "Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time."
Nelson's sister, Alex Nelson, told WMAQ-TV in Chicago, "He was not a vindictive person," Alex Nelson said. "He was not a cruel person. He didn't deserve this fate." It is the first homicide in Lincolnwood since 2006, police said.
Nelson's family also issued a statement in the aftermath of the attack: "To Uber, Lyft and taxicab drivers, who take us all where we need to go: We pray that you will remain safe and free from harm, and hope that if anything can be done to increase your safety, it will be done."
Friends and family sobbed during the funeral services for the young Uber driver. Nelson's sister Alex thanked residents who called emergency services, the paramedics who fought to save his life, and the state's attorney's office.