A Second Senior Was Killed Last Thursday, In an Alleged DUI


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The crash site, from the driver’s perspective.

Last Thursday was a deadly day for elderly pedestrians in Chicago. As we reported yesterday, at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, a van driver fatally struck 80-year-old Jamie Ramirez at Ashland and Wellington in Lakeview. Around noon that day, delivery driver James Rudzinski, 61, struck and killed female pedestrian Bronislawa Zajac, 82, at 63rd and Narragansett in the Clearing neighborhood, police said.

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James Rudzinski

Rudzinski was heading southbound in his truck on Narragansett when he turned left on 63rd, striking the senior, who was crossing northbound, according to Officer Janel Sedevic from Police News Affairs. Zajac, of the 6100 block of West 84th Place, was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The driver told police that he did not see the victim. A urine test revealed he had marijuana in his system, and he admitted to authorities that he had smoked pot the night before, court records show.

Rudinksi, of the 1000 block of South College in Wheaton, was charged with aggravated DUI causing death, as well as misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. At a bond hearing on Saturday, he was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail, the Sun-Times reported.

Fatality Tracker: 2013 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 21 (15 were from hit-and-run crashes, 3 in semi- and box truck crashes)
Bicyclist: 4

  • Matt F

    “A urine test revealed he had marijuana in his system” could mean he was high 2 weeks ago, depending on the test.

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