Speeding Teenage Driver Kills Man on Victim’s Birthday


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The crash site from the driver’s point of view.

A man’s 32nd birthday ended in tragedy when he was fatally struck by a speeding teenage driver in Avalon Park last night. Two other pedestrians were injured in the crash.

Last night around 8:30 p.m., Eugene Ratcliff, of the 3200 block of South Dante, was crossing Blackstone Avenue on 83rd Street along with a 30-year-old woman and a 22-year-old-man, according to Officer Mike Sullivan of Police News Affairs. A 17-year-old male driver was speeding southbound on Blackstone in a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta and blew the stop sign at 83rd.

The boy struck the three pedestrians, as well as a 2012 Pontiac Sunfire that was driving west on 83rd, police said. A bend in Blackstone at 83rd creates poor sight lines, which may have contributed to the crash.

Ratcliff was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 9:41 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The female victim was taken to South Shore Hospital, where her condition was stabilized. The other male victim was taken to Jackson Park Hospital, where his condition was listed as good.

The teen, who was not seriously injured, attempted to flee the scene on foot and was arrested by the police soon afterwards. He refused medical attention. No charges have been made yet; police are investigating whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Fatality Tracker: 2013 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 18 (14 were from hit-and-run crashes, 2 in semi- and box truck crashes)
Bicyclist: 3

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