Mayya Medovaya, 78, Fatally Struck by Turning UPS Truck Driver in North Park

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The crash site from the driver’s perspective, looking south. Image: Google Street View

A UPS truck driver who was making a right on red fatally struck a senior Monday afternoon in the North Park community, according to police.

At around 4:45 p.m., the 78-year-old woman was crossing the street at Peterson and Central Park in a crosswalk when the 64-year-old male driver made a right turn on red and struck her, according to Police News Affairs. The victim was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital in critical condition, where she was soon pronounced dead.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office has identified the woman as Mayya Medovaya of the 5800 block of north Pulaski, about six blocks from the crash site. She was the fifth vulnerable road user to be fatally struck by a commercial vehicle in Chicago in about nine weeks.

The UPS driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, according to News Affairs.

The police crash report stated that the driver had been heading west on Peterson and made a northbound right turn onto Central Park. However, photos of the truck parked at the north side of Peterson, just west of Central Park, following the crash, posted by several news outlets, plus a report by WGN, indicate that wasn’t the case.

The WGN reporter stated that Medovaya was walking south across the west leg of the intersection when she was struck, which would be in keeping with the final location of the truck. Therefore, it appears that the driver was also heading south on Central Park and made a right turn, westbound, onto Peterson when he struck the victim.

Witness Micheal Weldler told WGN that traffic on Peterson had the green at the time, which would mean both the pedestrian and the driver had a red light. It appears that right turns on red are legal at this location.

However, even if Medovaya was crossing against the light, that has limited relevance to this case. Even when both the driver and pedestrian have a green, it’s all-too-common for right-turning motorists to carelessly strike pedestrians in crosswalks. Moreover, a driver turning right on red is still responsible for ensuring that the relevant crosswalks are clear before making the turn.

Weldler told WGN that this busy intersection is generally a dangerous place. “People go fast here,” he said. “You see people run red lights all the time… [A fatal crash] was bound to happen, the way people drive down this street.”

Another neighbor told WGN, “This direction on Peterson, there are no cameras for speeders. They ignore the light.” He added that dangerous driving at the intersection is particularly problematic because Peterson Park is located at the southwest corner, so many children are traveling to the green space.

Fatality Tracker: 2016 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 15 (seven were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 4 (one was a hit-and-run crash)

  • Anne A

    My sympathy to the family and friends of Mayya Medovaya.

  • kastigar

    Right-turn-on-red was established at a time of high gas prices, to save gas from burning at an idle car.

    That time has past. The right-turn-on-red light permission law should be abolished. A life is worth more than gasoline.

  • kastigar

    The google-maps picture shows a marked pedestrian crossing. Don’t pedestrians have the right-of-way and be able to cross, regardless of the light?

  • johnaustingreenfield

    No, if the witness account is accurate, Mendovaya crossed on a “Don’t Walk” signal. Still, it’s common practice in Chicago, and not particularly dangerous, for pedestrians to wait for a major gap in traffic and cross against the light. If it’s true that the victim crossed against the light, that’s obviously no excuse for the UPS driver striking her while making a right on red.

  • Carter O’Brien

    On a slightly related topic, I only recently discovered that pedestrians aren’t legally supposed to cross a street after the don’t walk light starts flashing – I have heard TMA’s in Chicago prohibit pedestrians from crossing where there are timers counting down, but I don’t think those are the same thing. I’m guessing it’s because the timer lights are orange and thus resemble a don’t walk light more than a walk. Any idea what the rules of the road are for timers?

  • Bernard Finucane

    At the risk of repeating myself, this kind of tragedy is entirely predicable. The problem is that the lanes double in width at intersections of American streets with parking lanes on the side, because some driver use the extensions of the parking lanes into the intersection as driving lanes.

    The solution is as follows:

    The driver was hurrying down the center of the side street and took a fast right turn (black curve) using the extension of the parking lane as a race track style curve widening.

    His eye was on the light on the far side of the street as he approached the intersection, and he then turned his head to the left to check for oncoming traffic.

    The solution is curb extensions as shown by the red lines in the picture. This would force the drive to slow when reaching the intersection to avoid the curbs and make a much slower sharper curve (purple curve). This would have prevented the tragedy.

    There should also be a pedestrian refuge (brown box) at this intersection, but it would require jiggling the lanes a bit.

    This is a similar intersection in Munich, complete with right turning UPS truck, that shows safe intersection design.

    https://www.google.de/maps/@48.1350754,11.5093679,3a,75y,101.92h,72.82t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_YiB8VJaKa39xKwMoPI8rA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

  • Bernard Finucane

    The is some confusion methinks, about what a zebra stripe means. In some places it means the pedestrians have the right of way.

  • planetshwoop

    It’s strange to me that the pedestrian refuge isn’t there, the streets at either end of the park have a planet median. So it blocks people from crossing unless at an intersection, but doesn’t actually provide the pedestrian island at the crosswalk, which would be helpful.

    It’s on our route to a new (to us) school, and I have a little voice in the 39th to advocate for change. I plan to use it.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Good to hear. I said “at the risk of repeating myself” because I made similar comments about a left turn that led to a bicyclists death recently.

    http://chi.streetsblog.org/2016/08/18/francisco-cruz-58-fatally-struck-by-van-driver-while-biking-in-west-garfield/#disqus_thread

    and here are some more ideas.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2016/08/04/eyes-on-the-street-pedestrian-islands-arrive-on-amsterdam-ave/

    https://www.streetsblog.org/2016/05/09/111-corona-mothers-take-over-111th-street-to-call-for-a-safer-design/

    But it it all boils down to the same thing: More space for pedestrians, and eliminate non standard extra-wide lanes at intersections.

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