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Cyclist Dies a Few Weeks After Being Struck by 89-Year-Old Driver


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The crash site at Lincoln, Addison and Ravenswood.

A bicyclist who was struck from behind by an elderly driver in September has died from his injuries.On September 27, around 7:35 p.m., Joseph Korner was bicycling north near 3559 North Lincoln in Lakeview, according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs. Korner, 78, was struck from behind by Reverend Evaristo Loaiza, 89 at the time, Estrada said. Loaiza was driving a Mazda sedan.

Korner, of the 2100 block of West Belle Plaine, about a mile north on Lincoln from the crash site, was transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to Estrada. Although Korner’s condition was initially stabilized, he was pronounced dead last Thursday at 9:26 p.m., the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy conducted Friday found he died from complications from his injuries.

Laoiza, now 90, was cited for failing to reduce speed to prevent a crash, according to Estrada. He last appeared in court on October 17.

This case serves as a reminder of the need for better screening of elderly drivers, to ensure that they can still safely operate a two-ton vehicle. Studies show that, after age 70, drivers are twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes, per mile driven, as they were when middle-aged. After age 85, they are nine times more dangerous to themselves and others.

Korner’s death is the eighth Chicago bike fatality so far in 2014. This is a sharp increase from last year, when there were only four bike fatalities.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 23 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 8 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Pedestrian Lida Xhelo Killed After SUV Driver Collides With Another Vehicle


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The crash site.

A Belmont-Craigin woman is dead after being struck by an SUV driver who had crashed into a second car.

Around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, the SUV driver was traveling south on Austin Avenue and made an abrupt left turn to head east on Belmont Avenue, according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs. The driver struck another motorist’s car and then careened northbound, Estrada said.

The SUV driver then struck a woman on the north sidewalk of Belmont, just east of Austin, Estrada said. A photo posted by ABC7 shows that the vehicle crashed through a wrought-iron fence and came to rest on the front lawn of St. Patrick High School.

The woman was transported to Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center and pronounced dead at 7:03 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. She was identified as Lida Xhelo, of the 6000 block of West Eddy, a block south of the crash site, the medical examiner’s office said.

The SUV driver is in custody and charges are pending, Estrada said.

Updated November 6: Police have identified the SUV driver as Maciej Machniewicz, 45, of the 4400 block of West Barry. He was charged with a felony count of aggravated driving under the influence that resulted in a death. He was also cited three misdemeanors, including for driving without a license. Machniewicz is scheduled to appear in bond court today.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 23 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 7 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Pedestrian Killed on Near West Side


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The 1100 block of West Roosevelt, looking westbound.

Yesterday morning, a 57-year-old pedestrian died after being fatally struck on the 1100 block of West Roosevelt, which is located just west of St. Ignatius College Prep.

At about 6:30 a.m., several witnesses observed the man “walking against traffic,” according to Officer Bari Lemmon from Police News Affairs. He was struck by a westbound driver who reportedly had a green light, Lemmon said.

Caldwell was transported to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:11 a.m., according to officials. The driver stayed on the scene and was not cited, Lemmon said. Major Accidents is investigating the case.

Updated on October 19, 5:55 p.m. The victim has been identified as Joe Caldwell, of the 1400 block of South Blue Island, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 22 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 7 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Emily Fredbloom Dies After Taxi Crash on the LaSalle Street Speedway


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The 1400 block of North LaSalle, where Emily Fredbloom was struck.

Last Friday, Emily Fredbloom, 26, died from injuries sustained in late August, when she was struck by a cab driver while crossing LaSalle Street in Old Town.

On the Near North Side, LaSalle is a wide, five-lane street, which encourages speeding by drivers, and creates wide crossing distances for pedestrians. These issues were, or may have been, factors in a several recent serious crashes on this stretch of LaSalle.

On March 23, 2012, around 2:30 a.m., law student Jesse Bradley, 32, was crossing LaSalle westbound at Division Street (1200 North). Southbound motorist Bianca Garcia fatally struck him and fled the scene. Witnesses said she driving at a high rate of speed, and tests found she was intoxicated. Last July, Garcia was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Last Tuesday, September 16, around 4:50 a.m., a 23-year-old man was attempting to cross LaSalle at Chicago Avenue (800 North). Witnesses said the man “darted” across the street and was hit by a southbound female motorist, according to police. The man was critically injured and the driver was not cited.

In the most recent case, Fredbloom, a resident of south-suburban Lansing, was trying to cross westbound on the 1400 block of North LaSalle on Saturday, August 30, around 2:05 a.m., according to Officer Janel Sedovic from News Affairs. Witnesses say Fredbloom, who worked at a nurse at Northwestern Hospital, “bolted out into the street,” according to Sedovic.

Fredbloom was struck by a northbound cab driver, Sedovic said. The driver, a 51-year-old man, was cited for failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the roadway, and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

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Woman Fatally Struck by CTA Bus Driver in Brighton Park


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47th and Western from the bus driver’s perspective.

Last Saturday, Celia Sauseda, 54, was killed after a CTA bus driver struck her at 47th Street and Western Avenue in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

Sauseda, of the 4800 block of South Damen, was struck by a westbound #47 bus at about 6:20 a.m., according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs. “It appears the pedestrian may have fainted alongside the bus,” Estrada said.

Sauseda was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:54 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy was conducted last Sunday. “There was nothing to indicate a [preexisting] medical condition,” said Cook County spokesman Frank Shuftan.

The bus driver has not been cited. Major Accidents and the CTA are investigating the crash.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 20 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 6 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Cyclist Killed in Collision With Driver Is Bridgeport’s 2nd Bike Fatality in 2014


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The crash site from the cyclist’s point of view.

A 20-year-old bicycle rider who died after a collision with a Jeep driver was the second person killed in a bike crash in the Bridgeport neighborhood this year.

On May 29, Suai Xie, 59, was cycling on the 2900 block of South Poplar when she was fatally struck by van driver Gabriel Herrera, 65. After Herrera fled the scene, police were able to track him down via his plate number. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death, as well as failure to render aid and give information.

Last night around 11 p.m., Jacob Bass was riding a bike westbound on the 700 block of West 33rd Street, according to Officer Bari Lemmon from News Affairs. At the intersection of 33rd and Emerald Avenue, Bass was involved in a crash with the driver of a southbound Jeep Wrangler.

Police records state that the cyclist ran a red light at the intersection and “hit the vehicle,” according to Lemmon. Bass was transported to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Police ticketed the motorist for driving without a valid license, Lemmon said.

David Ziemba, 20, who lives near the intersection, told DNAinfo.com that he heard the crash, and then looked out the window to see Bass sprawled on the pavement with his backpack and shoes scattered a few feet away from his body. A friend of the victim stood over him and called for help. “He was crying and yelling ‘Wake up wake up’ and ‘He’s my best friend,’” Ziemba said.

This intersection is unusual in that it’s a junction of two side streets with a stoplight, rather than stop signs. There is also a stoplight a block east at Union Avenue, a northbound side street. Ziemba said that 33rd and Emerald is a dangerous place for both cyclists and drivers, adding that a friend of his was struck by a motorist there about a week ago, but escaped with minor injuries.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 19 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 5 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Man Killed in Little Village Was 3rd Vehicular Homicide Victim of 2014


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The 4000 block of West 26th Street.

A Brighton Park man who was beaten and then run over by a motorist early Sunday morning was the third victim of a vehicular homicide this year.

On Monday, April 28, Darrell Cooper, 41, intentionally struck and killed Artez McBride, 20, in South Austin following a dispute, police said. That same week, on Saturday, May 3, another driver used his vehicle as a murder weapon in McKinley Park. Antonio Mendez, 24, was fatally struck following an argument on the 1800 block of West 33rd Place, by an SUV driver who fled the scene.

Last Sunday at about 5:35 a.m., Victor Mendez, 23, was involved in an altercation on the 4000 block of West 26th Street in Little Village, according to Officer Bari Lemmon from Police News Affairs. Following an exchange of gang slogans, assailants beat Mendez, who lived nearby on the 3100 block of West 41st Street, police said.

One of the attackers then got into a car and made a U-turn, running over Mendez, according to Lemmon.The driver fled the scene.

Mendez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy conducted on Monday found that he died of multiple injuries following an assault, and the death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office.

No one is in custody, Lemmon said. Area Central is investigating the case.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 19 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 4 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

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Man Killed Sunday Was 4th Person Fatally Struck on North Avenue This Year


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The 2700 Block of West North Avenue.

A man killed by an allegedly drunk driver Sunday is the latest in a series of people fatally struck on speeding-plagued North Avenue, in 2014.

Around 8:25 p.m. Sunday, a 55-year-old man was crossing northbound on the 2700 block of North Avenue near Cermak Produce, according to Officer Janel Sedovic from Police News Affairs. The man’s identity has not yet been released, pending notification of his next of kin, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Sean Riley, 33, of the 1400 block of North Bell, was driving eastbound when he struck the victim. He stayed on the scene following the crash. The victim was transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Riley was found to have a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit of .08 percent, according to Sedovic. He has been charged with felony aggravated DUI resulting in an a death, operating a vehicle without insurance, and fail to exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian in the roadway. A bond hearing is scheduled for today.

The victim was the fourth person fatally struck by a driver on North this year. On April 21, Kim Kyeyul, 72, rear-ended a semi truck with his car on North just east of the Kennedy Expressway. After he exited his car to talk to the other driver, a second trucker killed him.

On April 24, Jennie Davis was crossing in the 5500 block of North Avenue in Austin when a speeding motorist fatally struck her – a similar scenario to this latest crash. And On Sunday, June 1, an out-of-control SUV driver fatally struck Charles Jones, 73, who was reportedly standing in the street just west of the Kennedy.

Most of these cases involved a too-fast driver and/or a difficult pedestrian crossing. In general, North is a five lane street with two travel lanes in each direction, a turn lane, and parking lanes. By Cermak Produce, the street is 76 feet wide, and that excess width encourages speeding and creates a long crossing distance for pedestrians.

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Man Dies 3 Days After Bike-Truck Crash in Archer Heights


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The crash site, looking northeast on Archer.

A 55-year old man died Thursday afternoon, three days after a truck driver struck him on his bicycle in the Archer Heights neighborhood.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the man as Leopoldo Rodgriguez, of the 5000 block of South California in the Gage Park community. On Monday, August 4, at around 3:05 p.m., Rodriguez was riding southwest on the 4700 block of South Archer Avenue, according to Officer José Estrada from Police News Affairs.

Rodriguez was struck in the crosswalk at the south leg of the intersection of Archer and Lawndale Avenue, according to Estrada. This indicates that the cyclist had been riding on the sidewalk, in the opposite direction of traffic.

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Path of SW-bound cyclist is in orange; NE-bound truck driver is in blue.

As Rodriguez rode southwest, the driver of a northeast-bound semi truck attempted to make a right turn to head south on Lawndale, Estrada said. The cyclist was pinned under the truck. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, and an autopsy found that he died of a head injury, according to the medical examiner’s office.

No citations have been issued, Estrada said, adding that Major Accidents is investigating the case. “It looks like it was just an unfortunate accident. A lot of cyclists don’t understand that they need to use the same rules of the road as drivers, so we have accidents like this that could be avoided.”

It’s true that wrong-way cycling and sidewalk riding by adults are too common in Chicago, and can contribute to crashes. In my experience, these behaviors seem to be more prevalent on the South and West sides of the city. For example, while checking out new bike lanes on the South Side last week, I spoke with a cyclist who argued that riding against traffic is safer, even though studies show the opposite is true. Clearly, more education and outreach is needed.

However, it’s easy to understand why Rodriguez may have believed he was safer biking on the sidewalk. This stretch of Archer has two lanes of traffic in each direction, plus left-turn bays — but no bike lanes — making it a hostile environment for cycling.

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Speeding Driver Kills Elderly Man, Injures 5 in Edgewater Pileup


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The crash site, from the driver’s perspective.

A senior is dead and five others are injured, after a reckless driver crashed into several parked cars in the Edgewater Beach neighborhood, officials said.

At around 11:12 a.m. Wednesday, a 58-year-old man was driving a Ford Focus sedan northbound on Sheridan at a high rate of speed, swerving around other vehicles, according to Officer VeeJay Zala from Police News Affairs.

The driver passed several cars stopped at a red light at the three way intersection of Sheridan Berwyn, according to Zala. He then attempted to pass a stopped CTA bus on the right and collided with several cars parked on the 5300 block of North Sheridan, Zala said. Photographs published on DNAinfo.com show that the crash occurred in front of Tedino’s Pizzeria, 5335 North Sheridan.

When the crash occurred, Frank Kiley, 71, and his fiancée were loading groceries from the nearby Care for Real food pantry into his car, NBC reported. During the pileup, Kiley was pinned between two vehicles, and one of the parked cars struck the bus, according to NBC.

Kiley, of the 3900 block of North Clark was pronounced dead on the scene at 11:51 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The driver was taken to Illinois Masonic hospital in stable condition, according to Zala. Three other people – a 69-year-old woman, a 65-year-old woman, and a 64-year-old man – were transported to Weiss Hospital, where they were treated and released, and a 48-year-old man was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital, where he was treated and released, Zala said.

Charges are pending against the driver, Police said.

Update: The driver has been identified as Vladimir Tsemekhman, of the 800 block of West Belle Plaine, the Tribune reports. Tsemekhman has been charged with reckless homicide; a bond hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 17 (5 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 2 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)