Driver Fatally Struck Cyclist Raul Ortiz-Gomez, 41, in West Town

The crash site from the driver's point of view. Image: Google Street View
The crash site from the driver's point of view. Image: Google Street View

A 40-year-old male driver has been cited after he struck and killed Raul Ortiz-Gomez, 41, in West Town Wednesday night.

At about 9:30 p.m. Ortiz-Gomez was biking on the west side of Ogden, according to Officer Jessica Rocco from Police News Affairs, who said it has not been determined which direction the cyclist was traveling. According to Rocco the motorist was driving a 2014 Lexus, traveling eastbound on Erie when he turned to head northeast on Ogden. That movement would have also involved a jog south on Racine prior to turning left onto Ogden. While making the turn onto Ogden, the driver struck the cyclist, Rocco said.

Red line shows the path an eastbound driver on Erie would have taken to turn northeast on Ogden. The blue marker shows the cyclist's possible location at the time of the crash. Image: Google Maps
Red line shows the path an eastbound driver on Erie would have taken to turn northeast on Ogden. The blue marker shows the cyclist’s possible location at the time of the crash. Image: Google Maps

Ortiz-Gomez, who lived on the 2600 block of South Harding in Little Village, was transported to Northwestern Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The driver was ticket for failure to exercise due care for a bicyclist in the road, Rocco said.

According to witnesses, Ortiz-Gomez was in a crosswalk when he was struck, WGN reported. It’s not clear whether he was riding on the street or sidewalk prior to the crossing. But since this stretch of Odgen has four travel lanes plus turn lanes, no bike lanes, and high-speed car traffic, it would be understandable if a cyclist thought it was safer to ride on the sidewalk than in the street.

Ogden is a direct diagonal route from the North Side to the Southwest Side. In December 2013, a drunk driver fatally struck Hector Avalos, 28, on the 2500 block of West Ogden, 2.5 miles southwest of yesterday’s crash site, as Avalos was biking from his job as a cook at a River North restaurant.

Ortiz-Gomez is the second person to be fatally struck on a bike in Chicago this year. On February 28, a driver struck and killed 21-year-old Carlos Daniel Ocana-Castillo on his bike in West Englewood and fled the scene.

Update 6/16/18, 9:30 AM: This morning Andrea Murphy contacted Streetsblog to say that she witnessed the moment of impact in the Ortiz-Gomez case, although she didn’t see the movements of the driver and cyclist prior to the crash. Although Police News Affairs told me the driver was going east on Erie prior to turning northeast onto Ogden, Murphy said the motorist, who is an Uber driver, told her he was making a right turn from Erie to head northeast on Ogden, which would have meant he had been going west on Erie.

And while News Affairs told me Ortiz-Gomez was on the west side of Ogden, Murphy said that she saw him being struck in the northeast-bound lanes of Ogden, on the east side of the street.

A map showing the driver's turning movement and the location of the crash, according to Andrea Murphy, who said she witnessed the moment of impact. Image: Andrea Murphy
A map showing the driver’s turning movement and the location of the crash, according to Andrea Murphy, who said she witnessed the moment of impact. Image: Andrea Murphy

In addition, although WGN reported that Ortiz-Gomez was in a crosswalk, Murphy noted that there are no crosswalks on the part of Ogden where she said the crash occurred. “I don’t know why WGN reported that he was in a crosswalk, there must’ve been a misunderstanding or assumption made somewhere along the way,” she said. “As far as I knew my friend and myself who were walking down Ogden were the only witnesses who left statements with the police, and we did not mention a crosswalk because there is none in that section of the street.”

While WGN reported that the cyclist was struck in a crosswalk, Andrea Murphy said he was struck in the northeast-bound lanes of Ogden north of Erie, where there is no crosswalk. Image: Google Street View
Looking north from Erie and Ogden. While WGN reported that the cyclist was struck in a crosswalk, Andrea Murphy said he was struck in the northeast-bound lanes of Ogden north of Erie, where there is no crosswalk. Image: Google Street View

Murphy noted that, since the driver works for Uber, it may be possible for the police to confirm her account of what happened via his ride-share app.

Fatality Tracker: 2018 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 23
Bicyclist: 2

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-April 2018 released by the Chicago Department of Transportation, plus media reports for May and June.

  • Sandra

    This diagram is totally wrong. That’s not from where the driver was coming and that’s not where the cyclist was hit. Totally off. You should actually speak to the actual driver and the witness that was there with Raul the whole time praying with him and speaking to him saying she was there with him. She saw it happen.

  • Sally Wright McLinn

    Honestly, IMO bikers shouldn’t ride in the street with traffic at night. They should ride on the sidewalk. Period.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    In Chicago sidewalk riding is illegal for people over 12, unless you’re going to or from a bike parking spot or a Divvy station.

  • A lot of people drive like they agree with you but you’re still wrong

  • Jeremy

    “Murphy noted that, since the driver works for Uber, it may be possible
    for the police to confirm her account of what happened via his
    ride-share app.”

    I have never dealt with police for something like this. Are they that diligent/proactive that they will contact Uber? I always assumed it was lawyers that would get this information for a civil case.

  • Michael

    Thanks for pointing this out… When I saw the Sun-Times and WGN, and now your post and witness accounts, we keep getting different stories on what took place and event the location, direction, etc. My recommendation – more cams. Car cams, helmet cams, etc. While even videos can be misleading – at least certain facts can be established as we’ve seen with other cases. I see more and more folks with helmet cams. They are getting smaller and less expensive all the time. If we are better able to see and understand what happens in these situations, then perhaps we can better come up with additional solutions to prevent, or at least reduce the number of, awful accidents like this from happening.

  • rwy

    The only time it seems to be enforced is to make a pretextual stop. The other day I saw a couple of people riding their bikes on sidewalks in Chicago.

  • what_eva

    Your opinion would be wrong and illegal in Chicago.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Let’s keep the discussion civil out of respect for the victim’s family. Thanks.

  • Bernard Finucane

    The idiots responsible for the design of this intersection should be in jail for criminal negligence.

  • Jeremy

    Based on the first photo, the police version (or the description above) is wrong. It looks like a driver can not be heading east on Erie, then turn to travel northeast on Ogden. He must be heading south on Racine prior to turning northeast onto Ogden.

  • David Henri

    Sally, bikers are required by law to ride in the street with traffic. Night or day.

  • Sandra

    John, I think you should really remove that first map that you posted. It is totally incorrect. Just keep the one my daughter Andréa emailed you. People here are getting confused and believing that that’s where and how it happened. And it doesn’t match some of the comments in your post. You’re still getting information all mixed up here.

    My daughter, Andréa Murphy and I met with the insurance investigator yesterday and she was telling us that these blog posts should not even exist because of all the misinformation there is. While we were at the scene yesterday telling the insurance investigator what happened, some guy approached us and outright lied to us telling us that he’s a friend of the Ortiz family! He said he was an attorney and that the family was thinking of hiring him. Wow. Really? These ambulance chasers shouldn’t lie to people who have already spoken to people who could actually represent the family.
    Please John, consider removing this blog post or rewrite the whole thing with all the correct information my daughter gave you plus what the police have said without any misspoken statements.
    If you keep all this erroneous information here, it would be disrespectful to the Ortiz family.

  • Sandra

    John’s map photo is totally wrong. Please ignore. And while you’re at it, please ignore this whole post. John posted this based on speculation and his opinions on what he thought the police said. Plus the police actually misspoke about the direction in which the Uber driver was going.
    The second map John posted is actually correct. My daughter Andréa Murphy was there and actually witnessed the whole incident. She has given her statement to the police officers that were at the scene and also to the detectives that arrived there a couple hours later. Just an FYI.

  • Sandra

    My recommendation, no blog posts until a thorough investigation is done on the part of the blogger. Get ALL the facts straight first before posting anything. My daughter Andréa actually witnessed the incident. There were no other witnesses besides my daughter’s friend who was walking with her at the time of the incident and the Uber passenger. That’s all. No one else left statements with the police or detectives.

  • Sandra

    Oh, and of course I agree about more cameras needed.

  • Sandra

    John, knowing this about how you post these blogs on accidents, I cannot trust what you write. I see many other blog posts about other accidents and I don’t even want to read them knowing how you post.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    The information in the original blog post is accurate in that it reports what happened *according to Police News Affairs and WGN*. The first map shows the vehicle’s path according to News Affairs.

    After Andrea Murphy contacted us, I added her account of what happened, noting that it contradicts the reports from the police and WGN.

  • Bernard Finucane

    What this intersection needs is crosswalks that are perpendicular to the streets they cross and streets that cross at right angles.The crosswalk in the first photo shouldn’t exist at all. The street should be closed down there., and the car traffic rerouted through W Ohio St.

    The intersection in the second photo should be like this:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eab791352adb3514e3197fffa22a5795f7dc0328552305448e51600209eda3da.png

    Curbs in red, crosswalks in blue, trees in green.

  • Andrew Bedno

    A ghost bike has been installed for Raul Ortiz. Ogden at Erie, southeast corner. The gathering was well attended by family and friends. https://bedno.com/do/bike/ghostbikes/details/raulortiz

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