Chicago should have effective traffic enforcement and forgiving street design, so that if a small child runs across a residential street, she doesn’t pay for the mistake with her life. Sadly, that was not the case for Maria Gonzalez, a five-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver last Saturday afternoon in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
At around 3:15 p.m., Maria was doing homework with her mother in her kitchen on the 5900 block of South Mozart when she heard an ice cream truck and ran across the street to buy a treat, NBC Chicago reported. On her way back, she was fatally struck by the driver of a dark-colored car, police said. According to her father Juan, who was working in the yard, the car seemed to be going more than 40 mph. The girl was thrown about 30 feet, and she died on the way to the hospital, her father said.
A neighbor’s security camera provided footage of the driver speeding down Mozart, NBC reported. Police say they are looking for a two-door, dark-colored Honda Civic with a dull or primer finish, with a sunroof and a spoiler. The car may have a front-end bra, a sport muffler, and a broken headlight. The driver was last seen traveling west on 60th Street from Mozart. Information can be provided to Major Accidents at 312-745-4521.
Local residents say they want to change their street to help prevent tragedies like this in the future. Maria’s neighbor Jose Anaya told NBC he plans to collect signatures in support of installing speed humps on the block.
Fatality Tracker: 2015 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 14 (5 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 2 (both were hit-and-run crashes)