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.”

Fatality Tracker: 2015 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 33 (14 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 8 (two were hit-and-run crashes)

  • Thank you for a beautiful article remembering our sister Marian Hayes. We ride bicycles in 2016 in memory of Marian…

  • Anne A

    Thank you for writing this. Marian was a special part of Slow Roll. I hope that her creative energy will continue to inspire others.

  • Bikegoddess Julie

    Lovely tribute, it’s always sad when someone dies from such an avoidable and stupid reason.

  • Zandra Hayes

    Marian is my sister. I can’t use the past tense because she will always be my sister. Although it was deemed an accident Surles was driving on a suspended license. Had he known just a little about my creative, loving sister who leaves a son, three grandchildren, three sisters, a brother and countless friends and students, he would have walked or taken the bus. He can’t imagine the pain he caused.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    I’m very sorry for your loss. Thank you for providing additional information about your sister and sharing your thought with us.

  • Carlisa Thomas

    Your sister was a blessing to know I will continue to pray for your family. She was a great support to me in the year I have known her. She will defiantly be missed!

  • Rukiya

    You have my deepest condolences. Marian and I came to know each other in the early 2000s while we were both at CSU and part of the Speech and Theater Department. May her soul rest in perfect and eternal peace. God bless.