Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Arthur Johnson, 77, in Gresham

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Arthur Johnson. Photo courtesy of the family.

“How do you hit a human being and not even stop to find out if he’s OK?” asked Arthur Johnson’s niece LaQuetta Skinner, in a WGN news report. That’s the central question raised by Chicago’s current hit-and-run epidemic. Out of 12 pedestrian fatalities so far this year, all but one of the motorists fled the scene.

According to the WGN report, Johnson, an elderly Korean War veteran, was a well-loved figure in the Gresham community, where he had lived since 1979. On Wednesday, his 77th birthday, at 7 a.m., he was following his usual routine of walking to the store for the morning paper. While he was crossing South Racine Avenue eastbound at 83rd Street, a northbound female motorist in a Mercedes sedan struck him and continued driving, said Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada. According to witness Dorothy Hunter-Brown, the driver was speeding at “at least 80 mph,” CBS reported.


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The crash site from the driver’s perspective.

Johnson was thrown six feet in the air and struck his head on the ground, Estrada said. The victim was pronounced dead about an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The Major Accidents Investigation Unit is looking into the case and has issued a bulletin requesting information about the crash. The Mercedes is described as a dark colored two-door 2002 to 2005 Mercedes C230 with passenger-side windshield and driver-side hood damage. MAIU can be reached at 312-745-4521. Surveillance cameras captured footage of the sedan, so hopefully this video will lead to the apprehension of the motorist.

Relatives are asking the driver to turn herself in. “You’ve claimed this person’s life,” said Skinner. “He’s gone. And, instead of birthday cake and celebration, we’re in there with a funeral director. It’s terrible.”

Fatality Tracker: 2013 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 12 (11 were from hit-and-run crashes, 2 in truck crashes)
Bicyclist: 2

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