Right-Turning Dump Truck Driver Fatally Struck Angela Park, 39, in Greektown

This was the fourth fatal Chicago bike crash involving a right-turning trucker within about two years

Photo: Mitch Dudek, Sun-Times, used with permission
Photo: Mitch Dudek, Sun-Times, used with permission

Update 8/10/18, 12:30 PM: The Cook County medical examiner’s office has identified the cyclist as Angela Park, 39, of the 3400 block of South Prairie Avenue in the Douglas community area, near the Illinois Institute of Technology. The post has been updated with biographical info about Ms. Park.

Update 8/10/18, 12:15 PM: The Sun-Times has reported that the truck driver was cited for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. 

Less that two weeks after a motorist struck and killed Luster Jackson, 58, on his bike in South Shore, this morning a truck driver fatally struck cyclist Angela Park while making a right turn at Madison and Halsted in Greek Town.

At about 7:10 a.m. Park was biking north on Halsted when the trucker attempted to make the right turn and struck her, according to Officer Patrick McGinnis from Police News Affairs. Aerial photos tweeted by WGN traffic reporter Sarah Jindra indicate that the truck driver was turning right onto Madison, by a construction site at the southeast corner, when they struck the cyclist.

Aerial photo of the crash site, looking west on Madison towards Halsted. Photo: Sarah Jindra, WGN, via Twitter
Aerial photo of the crash site, looking west on Madison towards Halsted. Photo: Sarah Jindra, WGN, via Twitter

Park was transported to Northwestern Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7:33 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The Sun-Times reported that a bike helmet and a broken pair of sunglasses were visible below the truck, which is owned by Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

Angela Park
Angela Park

The driver was cited for striking a pedestrian in the roadway. Following the crash, westbound Madison was closed between Des Plaines to Halsted, and eastbound Madison was closed from Halsted to the Kenned Expressway, WGN reported.

Park was married and the mother of two young daughters. She was a spin instructor at the Chicago Athletic Club and a triathlon coach. According to her CAC profile, she graduated from Northwestern University with an M.S in elementary education and a B.S. in human development. She started her career as a swim instructor in the mid ’90s and went on to do several types of fitness instruction and coaching. She completed more than 100 triathlons, including two Ironman long-distance competitions. “Angela was much beloved at CAC and a great coach to our community of athletes,” CAC spokeswoman Tasha James told Block Club Chicago.

In 2016, right-turning truck drivers fatally struck three female or gender-nonconforming cyclists in Chicago, and another female cyclist died in a truck crash in Evanston. In response, in July 2017 Chicago’s City Council passed a new ordinance requiring that any business with a city contract worth $2 million or more to install side guards and convex mirrors on all trucks used to fulfill the contract that weigh 10,000 pounds or more. Side guards help prevent cyclists and pedestrians from going under the wheels of the truck in the event of a crash, which can prevent fatal injuries. The city also announced plans to retrofit 1,700 city fleet vehicles with the safety gear.

A Chicago Department of Water Management truck outfitted with side guards. Photo: Airflow Deflector
A Chicago Department of Water Management truck outfitted with side guards. Photo: Airflow Deflector

Photos of the truck from today’s crash published in the Sun-Times article show that it does not have side guards. It’s possible that the equipment could have made a difference in this case, so the city of Chicago should consider expanding the side guard ordinance to include more, if not all large trucks being operated within the city limits to help prevent more of these kinds of tragedies.

Fatality Tracker: 2018 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths
Pedestrian: 24
Bicyclist: 4

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, June, and August.

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