Allegedly Drunk Hit-and-Run Driver Killed Beverly Barney, 59, in a Woodlawn Bus Shelter

The shelter where Beverly Barney was struck. Image: Google Street View
The shelter where Beverly Barney was struck. Image: Google Street View

On the evening of Saturday, August 10, an SUV driver slammed into a bus shelter in Woodlawn, killing Beverly Barney, 59, and injuring a 60-year-old woman. It was only the latest case of a motorist fatally striking a person on a Chicago sidewalk.

At about 7:15 p.m. that night, the driver of a 2003 Ford Explorer was speeding east on 61st Street when he struck the women at the shelter on the southeast corner of 61st and King Drive and fled the scene, police said. Barney, who lived on the 9500 block of South Greenwood, was transported to the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she died Sunday morning, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The other victim was taken to St. Bernard Hospital, where her condition was stabilized, according to police.

On Monday evening, former University of Chicago Charter School teacher Errol Brice, 42, was charged with reckless homicide for the killing, the Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson reported today. After his arrest, Brice allegedly told police he drank tequila prior to the collision, but the Illinois State Police had not yet released the results of his blood alcohol level analysis as of this afternoon.

According to Cook County prosecutors at a hearing today, Brice had been heading north on King and made a right onto 61st when he jumped the curb, striking Barney, who was sitting in the shelter, the Sun-Times reported. The motorist allegedly pinned the woman under his SUV, reversed, and then drove forward again, running over Barney a second time as he fled down 61st. Officers patrolling the neighborhood arrived at the crash site shortly after the collision and were pointed towards the SUV by bystanders.

Prosecutors said police eventually stopped Brice in the 6100 block of South  Vernon. The front end of his truck was so badly damaged that he needed to be pulled out of the vehicle, according to the Sun-Times report. He allegedly swayed on his feet while standing outside the SUV and admitted that he had been drinking.

At the hearing prosecutors said Brice had been convicted for a DUI in 2003, the Sun-Times reported. Citing the previous offense, Judge David Navarro ordered him held on $50,000 bail and told him not to drive if he posts bond. The next hearing is set for set for Thursday, Sept. 5.

Recently Streetsblog Chicago ran a piece discussing people’s fears of being struck by a cyclist riding on sidewalks. While there appears to be no record of a bike rider ever fatally striking a pedestrian in Chicago, there have now been at least three cases of motorists killing people on sidewalks in our city this year.

On March 5, a turning truck driver fatally struck Anthony Macedo, 14, standing on a corner in Gage Park.

And on June 30, a driver fleeing police struck and killed Michael Jordan, 27, sitting in a bus shelter in Jeffery Manor.

Fatality Tracker: 2019 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets
Pedestrian: 26
Bicyclist: 0

Note: Streetsblog Chicago’s traffic death numbers represent fatal crashes on Chicago surface streets, based on preliminary Chicago Police Department data for January though July 2019 released by the Chicago Department of Transportation, plus media reports for August.

  • Anne A

    My sympathy to the family and friends of Beverly Barney.

  • hopeyglass

    Twenty six pedestrian fatalities on surface streets in 2019 is horrifying. This was not the first person struck in a bus shelter, no? Good god I wish there was more outrage across the board about this.

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