Slow Roll Chicago Mourns the Loss of Member Marian Hayes to a Traffic Crash

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Marian Hayes. Photo: Slow Roll Chicago

Slow Roll Chicago member Marian Hayes, an artist, educator, gallery curator, poet, and jazz DJ, died last Sunday, two days after being struck by a driver while walking in the Ashburn neighborhood.

On Friday, January 8, at around 5 p.m., Hayes, 61, was walking near the intersection of 87th Street and Kedzie Avenue, according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs. Darrell Surles, 55, was driving westbound on the 3200 block of West 87th when he heard what sounded like an impact, Estrada said. After walking eastbound on 87th, Surles discovered he had struck Hayes.

Hayes, who lived on the 500 block of East 89th Street, was transported in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to Estrada. She died on Sunday at 3:16 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. It appears that she was the first Chicago pedestrian fatality of 2016.

Surles, who lives in Evergreen Park, was charged with a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license, and was also cited for failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the roadway, and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, Estrada said. He is scheduled to appear in court at the Daley Center on March 10.

Hayes is remembered as a prolific artist who worked with several different mediums, including photography, fiber, quilting, and found objects. According to her LinkedIn profile, she taught young children how to make art inspired by cultures from around the world as part of the Global Explorer Kids program at Marquette Elementary School in Chicago Lawn. She was also the founder and curator of Gallery Sous Terrain, a community art gallery at Tuley Park Cultural Center.

Guillermo Delgado

Hayes participates in a Slow Roll Ride. Photo: Guillermo Delgado.

A longtime poet, Hayes took inspiration from everyday life, including “taverns, schools, campuses, highways, and byways,” and was working on a series of “blues haiku poems” according to her bio on the Guild Literary Complex website. She recorded her poetry on one of local jazz trumpeter Malachai Thompson’s albums.

Since 2008, she had produced and hosted the show “Café Yeye” on Chicago State University’s radio station. The program featured music and interviews from international and Chicago-based jazz musicians.

Hayes got involved with Slow Roll Chicago, which promotes cycling on the South and West Sides of the city, last summer when the group hosted a Celebration of Graduation ride from Tuley Park. “She immediately embraced our movement and we gladly welcomed her warm energy into our family,” recalls SRC cofounder Oboi Reed.

“Marian was always quick to volunteer, oftentimes proactively reaching out to me and others to offer her time, energy, and services,” Reed said. “She inspired us to prioritize the role of culture, history, style, and rhythm in our work.”

He added that Hayes encouraged family and friends to join the group. “She was a proud Ambassador for our movement, lovingly spreading the Slow Roll Chicago mission,” he said. “Marian’s grace and coolness will continue to energize our work.” Reed said Hayes “is now riding a bicycle in the heavens.”