Turning Van Driver Fatally Struck Kiare Woods, 2, in West Englewood Last Week

A still from the security footage.
A still from the security footage.

A van driver who made a made a left turn without checking for pedestrians in the crosswalk took the life of two-year-old Kiare Woods as he and his aunt crossed the street in a crosswalk last Thursday evening around 5:30 p.m. in West Englewood.

Security video from a convenience store at the southwest corner of 71st and Damen shows the aunt bending down and talking with the boy as they wait at the corner for the light. After the signal changes and, holding hands, they begin crossing east across Damen, the westbound driver of a red van turns south, striking them as they are in the middle of the street.

The aunt was thrown into the street by the impact and sustained injuries to her arm, but the driver ran over Kiare. The aunt stood up and ran to the boy, then carried him to the sidewalk. Passers-by ran to the corner to help, some of them removing their jackets to place under the child. Kiare, who lived on the 7600 block of South Aberdeen, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition and later pronounced dead, according to authorities. The aunt was treated for her injuries.

The van driver, a 69-year-old woman, was given a sobriety test after the crash by police. She was later issued two citations for failure to exercise due care for pedestrians in the roadway.

Fatality Tracker: 2018 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 9
Bicyclist: 1

Note: Streetsblog Chicago’s traffic death numbers represent fatal crashes on Chicago streets. The pedestrian count above is based on Chicago Police Department data for January 2018 released by the Chicago Department of Transportation, plus media reports for February through April.

  • Roo_Beav

    I think it’s relevant to include the witness report that the driver had a green left turn arrow. I’m glad the police did not accept that as a reason to not cite the driver.

    The report that the “sun was in the driver’s eyes” is not relevant, other than to demonstrate negligence of the driver.

  • Kevin M

    How did these people have a “walk” signal and the driver had a green arrow?

  • Tooscrapps

    I don’t believe the article mentions a walk signal. It just says the signal changes. Based on the video I saw via the Trib, the cars facing the same direction as the van don’t move after the light changes so appears there was some sort of turn signal.

    That aside, there is no excuse for not seeing them cross.

  • planetshwoop

    How awful for a family to lose a child. My deepest sympathies to the family.

  • kastigar

    Left-turn arrows should be eliminated at every intersection.

    When the left-turn arrow is active the pedestrian crossing is stopped in all four directions, providing cars-over-pedestrian advantage.

    When it’s raining, pedestrians must wait in the rain when drivers sitting inside closed cars can turn faster.

    When it’s snowing, pedestrians must wait in the slow and cold so drivers sitting in warm cars can turn faster.

    When it’s hot, pedestrians mast wait in the sun so drivers in air-conditioned cars can turn faster.

    Very few intersections really need a left-turn arrow, especially when it used to give cars priority over pedestrians.