Driver Who Failed to Yield Killed Senior in Avondale Crosswalk

The crash site from the driver's perspective. Image: Google Street View
The crash site from the driver's perspective. Image: Google Street View

A 31-year-old motorist who failed to yield while making a left turn from a side street onto a main street fatally struck a 64-year-old man in a crosswalk in the Avondale neighborhood, according to police.

At about 11:50 p.m. Thursday, the male driver of a sedan was heading east on Melrose Avenue. When he came to the stop sign at Pulaski Road, he made a left turn onto the business street.

Since there is no crosswalk at the south leg of the T-shaped intersection, it appears the victim was in the north leg when he was struck. It’s not yet clear which direction he was crossing. He was transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital and later pronounced dead. The man’s name has not yet been released, pending notification of kin, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The driver was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. A red light camera is located half a block south at Belmont and Pulaski. It’s not clear whether he stopped at the stop sign. Major Accidents is investigating.

This logistics of this crash seem to be very similar to the tragic collision that took the life of Noah Katz, 2, on Sunday, November 13, 2016, at around 4:10 p.m. at Giddings Street and Central Avenue in Portage Park. In that case, van driver Alexander Vasquez, 48, was also turning left from a side street onto a main street, when he failed to yield to the child and his 39-year-old mother, who were crossing in the crosswalk to the driver’s left. Vasquez was issued one citation for failure to stop at a stop sign, two for failure to reduce speed, and two for failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Update 2/14/17 10:00 AM: Although the victim’s next of kin still have not been located, in an effort to find relatives of the deceased, the medical examiner’s office has released his name, Pavel Butnufski. His home address is still unknown.

Fatality Tracker: 2017 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 3 (one was a hit-and-run crash)
Bicyclist: 1
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  • Carter O’Brien

    Any idea what % of these accidents involve vehicles turning left? May be time to consider adopting the UPS strategy.

  • SIDhakmnf

    Another pedestrian critically injured after being hit by a car last night. This case it was a right turn.

  • what_eva

    I attended Northwestern in the early/mid-90s, worked near that intersection in the late 90’s and have friends that live near it now. That intersection has always been oversized and pedestrian unfriendly. From back when the area was mostly parking lots to now where it’s fully developed, it hasn’t changed much. There’s a curb bumpout on the SE corner now, but it manages to not cut down the crossing distance due to it’s location and the geometry of the crossing (and the south leg is where the victim here was hit). There’s no good reason for Elgin to have a median like it’s some kind of boulevard or for it to be so wide. Benson is likewise too wide.

  • what_eva

    The UPS strategy doesn’t necessarily work well for people driving from point-to-point.

    A typical UPS driver has a large number of very short stops distributed around an area and has software that determines the optimal route to make all of those stops. Part of that route optimization involves taking into account that a left turn often takes longer than a right turn. What that means for a UPS driver is that after one stop, the next stop might not be the next closest one, it may be one a little further away and the route will eventually work back to the one that was once closest. As stated in the article, UPS does *not* bar left turns completely. They do *not* go around a block with 3 rights instead of making a left, barring an instance of a particularly bad left turn or particularly dense areas like the loop. If the UPS driver had a delivery on that block of Melrose and the next one was north on Pulaski, s/he’d turn left onto Pulaski.

  • Carter O’Brien

    While those are fair points, from the article:

    “Turning against traffic resulted in long waits in left-hand turn lanes that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents.”

    We’d need to try this system-wide before we could really understand if it worked or not. Which I certainly don’t see happening any time soon – BUT – the concept is worth keeping alive as it pertains to new developments with curb cuts, retiring drive-throughs, and revisiting parking lot layouts when large commercial tenants turn over.