Chicago Police Department /DNAinfo
COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Police say they’ve identified and arrested the man who pushed a commuter onto the CTA Blue Line tracks in August in an apparently unprovoked attack that nearly landed the victim on the deadly electrified third rail.
Charged with attempted first-degree murder is Chad Estep, 34, a data analyst who earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Northwestern University earlier this year, according to court testimony. He had no criminal history in Chicago before being arrested Monday night at his Wicker Park home.
Several people, including the victim, identified Estep as the attacker, prosecutors said. And phone records place Estep’s cellphone at the same Loop subway station as the victim at the time of the attack.
Estep was ordered held on $200,000 bail during a brief bond hearing Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave.
According to Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti, the victim — identified in court records as 46-year-old Ben Benedict — was heading home from a Cubs game Aug. 1 when he entered the Washington Blue Line station at 19 N. Dearborn St.
Benedict had not been drinking, prosecutors said, but Estep appeared intoxicated when he hopped a turnstile at the station and briefly waited for a train.
The men had never met before that evening, authorities said, and did not speak before the attack.
According to Antonietti, Estep fielded a phone call and then used both hands to shove Benedict from behind onto the tracks.
Benedict, who sprained his wrist in the surprise fall, nearly hit the third rail, prosecutors said. When he tried to get up, Estep wouldn’t help the man and even tried to block other people from lifting…