Twice as Many Pedestrian and Bike Deaths So Far in 2015 as Previous Years

Three-Dead
Elizabeth Peralta-Luna and her two children were fatally struck by a semi driver in March.

So far, 2015 has been a deadly year for pedestrian and bike crashes in Chicago. By this time in 2013, there had been six pedestrian fatalities, including three hit-and-runs, and no bike fatalities. By mid-April of 2014, there had also been six pedestrian deaths, five of which were hit-and-runs, and zero bike deaths. However, as of last Sunday, there have been ten pedestrians fatalities this year, including four hit-and-runs, and two bike fatalities, both of which involved drivers who fled. Here’s a recap of the cases.

On New Year’s Day, at about 1:30 a.m., a hit-and-run minivan driver fatally struck Aimer Roblado, 30, as he rode his bike on the 4700 block of West Division in West Humboldt Park. Robledo, a construction worker and DJ who lived on the 1400 block of North Avers, was cycling east when he was struck by the driver of a dark-colored minivan, who fled the scene. The victim was pronounced dead two hours later. Major Accidents is investigating the case.

On Friday, January 2, at around 1:20 p.m., a pickup truck driver fatally struck Nancy Sell, 59, on the 7500 block of North Clark Street in Rogers Park. Sell, who lived nearby on the 7400 block of North Greenview, was a cancer awareness advocate who had previously been struck by a bus driver and had undergone six months of physical therapy to learn how to walk and talk again, according to DNAinfo. She died on Saturday, January 10, from brain injuries sustained in the recent crash. The driver of the Ford F-250 received several tickets.

On Friday, January 15, at about 6:25 a.m., an SUV driver struck and killed Maria Hernandez, 58, in the 3600 block of West Addison in Avondale, by the Addison Blue Line station. The motorist, 41, exited the Kennedy Expressway northbound and then made a left turn to go west on Addison. She struck Hernandez as the pedestrian was crossing Addison northbound in a crosswalk. Hernandez, who lived nearby on the 3800 block of West Addison, was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Police did not cite the driver, the Tribune reported.

On Saturday, January 17, at around 10:10 p.m., car driver Jose Estrada, 24, fatally struck pedestrians Raman Cruz, 36, and Pablo Esquivel-Vega, believed to be in his 50s, on the 4300 block of West North Avenue in Hermosa. The victims were crossing North Avenue when Estrada struck them with his 2002 Buick and allegedly sped away, the Tribune reported. The two men were pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Estrada collided with three parked vehicles a few blocks from the scene of the first crash and was apprehended by police. Prosecutors said the driver had a blood-alcohol content of 0.157, almost twice the legal limit. He was charged with two felony counts of aggravated DUI, plus a misdemeanor charge and failure to reduce speed.

On Wednesday, February 4, at about 1:10 a.m., Kevin D. Garett was fatally struck while walking in the street on in the 2800 block of East 79th in South Shore. Police said the victim was first struck by the driver of a dark-colored SUV, which was seen speeding away from the scene, CBS reported. A few minutes later, he was run over again by an officer in an unmarked police car. Garett, 60, lived on the 1000 block of West Lawrence. Police said the fact that streetlights on the block were broken played a role in his death. Major Accidents is investigating.

On Thursday, March 5, at around 1:20 p.m., car driver Harry Clemons, 35, fatally struck Andrew Smith, 41, on the 300 block of South Pulaski in West Garfield Park. According to prosecutors, Clemons was driving erratically and speeding at up to 65 mph when he turned onto Pulaski and struck Smith, as well as two parked cars, the Tribune reported. The victim, who lived on the 1900 block of South St. Louis, was pronounced dead several hours later. Clemons and two passengers, including his teenage daughter, were injured in the crash. A blood test revealed that Clemons had PCP, cocaine, and marijuana in his crash, prosecutors said. He was charged with felony aggravated DUI.

On Friday, March 6, at around 5 p.m., semi driver Zachary Barngrover, 23, fatally struck Elizabeth Peralta-Luna, 30, and her daughter Elizabeth Peralta, nine, and son Dylan Peralta, four, on the 4300 block of south Ashland in Back of the Yards. Barngrover was driving west on 43rd when he turned south onto Ashland and struck the three victims who were crossing the south leg of the intersection, apparently making their way to a bus stop, a witness told CBS. Peralta-Luna and her children were hospitalized and later died from their injuries. Barngrover was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and for making an improper left turn.

On Thursday, March 12, at about 1:45 p.m., car driver Matthew Price, 69, fatally struck Jazzalyn Fontanez, 22, on the 5900 South block of Halsted in Englewood. Fontanez , who was pregnant with her second child, was crossing Halsted in a crosswalk on her way to a laundromat when she was struck by Price, who was driving northbound, the Tribune reported. The victim went over the hood of the car and was carried down the street for some distance, prosecutors said. She was hospitalized and pronounced dead later that day. Police stopped Price about a mile from the crash site. He was charged with felony failure to report a traffic crash and misdemeanor failure to render aid.

On Sunday, April 5 around 1:30 p.m., a hit-and-run car driver struck and killed Michael Joseph, 59, while he was riding his bike on the 1200 block of West 74th Street in Englewood. Joseph was cycling westbound when the driver of a light-colored Chevrolet sedan struck him from behind, the Tribune reported. The driver fled west on 74th, then turned north on Loomis, police said. Joseph was hospitalized in critical condition; he died the next day. Major Accidents is investigating the case.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    There seems to be significantly more people employed in Chicago for 2015 compared to 2014. That would create more motorists, cyclists and pedestrians commuting. Which in turn would tend to increase the odds of more pedestrians and cyclists getting hit by motorists.

    http://www.worldbusinesschicago.com/news/local-employment-trends

  • Brian

    I guess speed cameras are really doing their job – not! Goes to show there is NO safety benefit.

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