Former bus driver gets 34 years in death of woman, unrelated sex abuse cases

Tribune reporter

A former tour bus driver who had cocaine in his system when he struck and killed a 26-year-old woman walking in downtown Chicago in 2011 was sentenced to 34 years in prison after pleading guilty today to aggravated DUI and charges in two unrelated child sex-abuse cases.

David Soto pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI as well as aggravated criminal sexual abuse and predatory sexual abuse counts before Judge William Lacy.

He must serve 85 percent of the 34-year prison sentence, according to a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Justyna Palka, an artist and graphic designer, was walking across the intersection of Illinois Street and Columbus Drive in the Streeterville neighborhood on her way home from her job at the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather on May 3, 2011.

Soto, at the time a Pontarelli Group Charter bus driver, said he didn't see her. 

Video surveillance images showed that Palka was walking in the crosswalk with a green light when the driver made a right turn and ran her over, according to her family's lawyers. 

In August, her family settled with the tour bus company for $6.75 million.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad