Driver Strikes, Kills Cyclist From Behind on Speedway Between Cemeteries


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7800 block of West Irving Park Road.

On Tuesday, May 14, around 9:10 pm, 83-year-old Leonard Ratajczyk was bicycling west on the 7800 block of West Irving Park Road in the Irving Woods neighborhood when the driver of a westbound Chevy Malibu struck and killed him, according to Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabella. Ratajczyk lived on the 3900 block of North Pacific Avenue, a few blocks west of the crash site, so it’s likely he was on his way home.

The cyclist was taken to Lutheran General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:51 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. According to his obituary, Ratajczyk, who had five sisters and brothers, leaves behind many fond nieces and nephews.

The driver was identified as Salvador Villagomez, 59, from the 4800 block of South Keeler, according to Mirabella. Villagomez was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The crash took place on a segment of Irving Park between two cemeteries, part of a one-mile stretch between Cumberland Avenue and Oriole Avenue with no stoplights or major cross streets, which encourages speeding.

Fatality Tracker: 2013 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 8 (7 were from hit-and-run crashes, 2 in truck crashes)
Bicyclist: 1