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Courier German Catalan-Cortez Killed in Blue Line Incident, 3 Cyclists Injured Last Week

6:44 PM CDT on July 23, 2019

German Cataln-Cortez

Thankfully, Chicago has gotten through most of 2019 with no reported on-street bike fatalities. Tragically, however, last week bike courier German Catalan-Cortez, 30, was killed after he fell on the Blue Line tracks while riding on the platform of the Illinois Medical District. In addition, last week there were at least three reported cases of drivers striking cyclists in the region, two of them involving hit-and-run drivers, with one of the victims suffering serious injuries. Here's a rundown of the four cases.

Bike courier German Cataln-Cortez died after falling on Blue Line tracks

According to authorities, on Friday, July 19, at about 9:05 p.m., Catalan-Cortez was biking on the IMD station platform when he fell onto the electrically charged third rail. He was unresponsive when police arrived on the scene and was pronounced dead. According to the Cook County medical examiner's office, the victim lived on the 3100 block of South Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn, which is served by the Blue Line.

Catalan-Cortez, nicknamed "Chino," was "humble to the fullest and always a stand-up dude," a friend and fellow courier told Streetsblog. "He was someone you’d definitely want around you, just because his lust for life was infectious. He was one of the [couriers] who would always say what’s up to you in the streets... It’s just sad I won’t hear those 'What’s up!' call outs any more. He’s going to be missed dearly."

Catalan-Cortez leaves behind a five-year-old daughter. A GoFundMe has been launched to cover funeral expenses and establish a trust fund for his daughter.

Funeral arrangements were announced on the GoFundeMe page. The wake is Wednesday July 24th, 3-8 p.m. at Sourek Funeral Home, 5645 West 35th Street in Cicero. Burial will be after mass on Friday, July 25th, starting at 10 a.m. at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, 1351 West Evergreen Street in Chicago.

In June 2017, a 19-year-old man on a bike died in a similar incident at the Red Line's Sox-35th station after he fell onto the tracks and was struck by a train.

Car passenger doored cyclist in Upper Randolph bike lane

On the morning of the day Catalan-Cortez died, Friday July 19, at about 8:30 a.m., a cyclist was injured by a passenger leaving a car in the Upper Randolph bike lane, police said. According to the driver, he was stopped in traffic when his passenger, a 33-year-old male, attempted to exit the vehicle. When the passenger opened his door, he struck the victim, a 63-year-old man cycling westbound. The victim was treated on scene for a laceration roughly three-inches long in his upper right shoulder. Although dooring a cyclist carries a $1,000 penalty in Chicago, no citations were issued.

At the same place our pal @84EWashington has shown is dangerous for bikers in his videos, a #bikechi rider was hit while in the Randolph bike lane this a.m. @bikelaneuprise . Rider looked ok and the CPD and ambulance were on scene pic.twitter.com/zQIcn3BOpW

— Weisen heimer (@Heimerweisen) July 19, 2019

Hit-and-run driver injured cyclist in Wicker Park

Also on Friday, July 19, at about 3:20 p.m., a hit-and-run driver injured a 37-year-old male bicyclist in Wicker Park, according to police. The victim was stopped at the the Division Street and Damen Avenue intersection facing westbound when he was struck head-on by a driver, possibly female, in a Maroon Chevrolet. The victim stated he did not see where the motorist came from, and witnesses stated the driver fled east from the crash. The bicyclist was transported to Stroger Hospital in stable condition and is expected to recover. As of Friday night, the driver was not in custody.

The 1900 block of West Division. Image: Google Maps
The 1900 block of West Division. Image: Google Maps
The 1900 block of West Division. Image: Google Maps

A person who said they witnessed the crash posted on the Wicker Park Community Facebook discussion page stating that the vehicle was an "old red pickup truck" with license plate 2518835. "Driver veered all the way into the wrong lane of traffic [hitting] a cyclist who was just standing with his bike at a red light. She got out of her truck to look at him, then got back in and drove off... There was nothing that the poor cyclist could have done! His bike was crunched and his knee was injured."

Hit-and-run driver seriously injured man, 63, on bike in Beach Park

Last Saturday, July 20, a hit-and-run driver seriously injured a 63-year-old Waukegan man in north-suburban Beach Park, according to the Lake County sheriff's office.

Sheridan Road at Mawman in Beach Park. Image: Google Maps
Sheridan Road at Mawman Avenue in Beach Park. Image: Google Maps
Sheridan Road at Mawman in Beach Park. Image: Google Maps

As reported by the Daily Herald, police believe the man was biking north on Sheridan Road near Mawman Avenue when the northbound driver struck him from behind and fled the scene. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene at about 1:20 a.m. and found the victim lying on the road. He was taken to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan in serious condition, but is expected to survive.

About an hour after the deputies found the cyclist, the police received a call from a person stating that their 20-year-old daughter had struck a pedestrian. Police impounded the daughter's car, a 2016 Chevrolet, while the investigation continued, but she was not immediately charged.

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