Drunk Driver Kills 2-Year-Old Girl in Englewood


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57th and Morgan, from the driver’s viewpoint.

It’s always heartbreaking when a child dies. When the death is caused by the senseless actions of an adult, that tragedy is compounded. This was the case with Ja’Mya Love, two, killed in Englewood by a drunk driver whose blood-alcohol was more than three times the legal limit.

On Friday morning at about 6:25 a.m., Ja’Mya was walking to daycare, holding hands with her great-grandmother Pamela Thompson, 57, who was pushing the girl’s one-year-old brother in a stroller, according to Police News Affairs’ Officer Jose Estrada. They were walking west across Morgan Street at 57th Street when Kellen E. Bledsoe, 27, speeding north on Morgan in a gray 1999 Chysler Concord, ignored a stop sign and struck the girl, police say.

Ja’Mya, who lived on the 5700 block of South Peoria Street, was take to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where she died soon afterwards, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. “She opened her eyes and then she closed her eyes and that was it,” Thompson, who was uninjured, told the Tribune. “I knew she was already gone but I just kept hope. I just kept hope.”

Bledsoe fled the crash and did not stop until after he struck two parked vehicles a short distance away, at which point he tried to escape on foot, prosecutors say. Police officers found him about two blocks away attempting to enter a residence on the 5300 block of South Aberdeen, according to court records. He was arrested after he fell down the front stairs of the building. Police said his eyes were bloodshot, he had a strong odor of alcohol, and he admitted to drinking before the crash. Prosecutors said he had a blood-alcohol content of .252 – the legal limit in Illinois is .08

Police charged the driver, who lives on the 5700 block of South Aberdeen, with reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated DUI. They also charged him with driving without a license or insurance and issued him several citations.

Fatality Tracker: 2013 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 17 (13 were from hit-and-run crashes, 2 in semi- and box truck crashes)
Bicyclist: 3