Driver fleeing traffic stop kills UIC grad student Tushar Sharma, 27, on Near West Side

Tushar Sharma
Tushar Sharma

A motorist fleeing officers after running a stop sign near the UIC police station fatally struck grad student Tushar Sharma, 27, and injured another student on the Near West Side campus.

According to a statement sent out yesterday by UIC Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis, plus information released by the UIC Police, at 10:25 a.m. yesterday the motorist was speeding north on Morgan Street when he blew the stop sign at Maxwell Street. Two UIC Police officers then attempted to pull the driver over, but he fled north, running a red at Roosevelt Road.

The motorist, 32, was then struck by another driver and careened onto the sidewalk, hitting Sharma and another student. The driver kept going, until he hit a tree and knocking over a lamp post. He then abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot onto the Dan Ryan Expressway, later trying to flee on the CTA, where he was arrested. As of yesterday evening, felony charges were pending.

Sharma was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, police said. The other victim, also 27, suffered an injured right shoulder and was experiencing right chest pain, but was in good condition.

Image: ABC Chicago
Image: ABC Chicago

“Together we mourn a student and an outstanding research assistant who was pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering,” Amidiris said. “He was known as a favorite teaching assistant among the undergraduate students.”

“You just can’t hit and run,” Lamont McClendon, who works nearby, told ABC Chicago. “Hit somebody, kill them and run, where’s your conscience? I feel for the person that lost their life, and their family.”

Chicago has been experiencing a spike in traffic fatalities during the pandemic, when traffic has been relatively light and speeding is up. As of September 30, there had been 100 total on-street traffic deaths, compared to 72 in all of 2019.

Fatality Tracker: 2020 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets

Pedestrian: 29
Bicyclist: 8

Note: Streetsblog Chicago’s traffic death numbers represent fatal crashes on Chicago surface streets, based on media reports and/or preliminary Chicago Police Department data released by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

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