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Reckless, unlicensed driver cut short the life of Kawantis Robinson, 5, in Englewood

1:41 PM CDT on March 22, 2021

Kawantis Robinson

In a particularly tragic example of the senseless destruction regularly inflicted by Chicago's car-centric transportation system, an unlicensed driver slammed into the building that Kawantis Robinson, 5, and family members were leaving, instantly killing the boy. The killing follows a sharp increase in Chicago traffic violence – last year fatal crashes were up 45 percent, largely due to an increase in speeding during the pandemic.

According to the Chicago Police Department, on Friday, March 19, at about 11:10 p.m., the child, his mother, and a sibling were on the sidewalk on the 600 block of West Marquette Road. A 44-year-old man was driving an SUV on Marquette when he struck an electrical box. The motorist then veered onto the sidewalk, striking Kawantis before hitting the building and coming to a stop.

The 600 block of West Marquette Road. Image: Google Maps
The 600 block of West Marquette Road. Image: Google Maps
The 600 block of West Marquette Road. Image: Google Maps

The boy was taken to Comers Children's Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. An autopsy ruled that the death was unintentional, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The male driver and a 48-year-old female passenger were transported to University of Chicago Hospitals in good condition, police said. No other injuries were reported.

The motorist was cited with failure to reduce speed, driving without a license, and operating an uninsured vehicle, police said.

Kwantis Robinson
Kawantis Robinson
Kwantis Robinson

This weekend Kawantis's family, who also called him K-Drew, honored him with a balloon launch, NBC Chicago's Christian Farr reported.  "The baby... never had a chance," the child's uncle, Dennis Moore said. "He died on impact, and it was terrible."

The boy's aunt Shakarria Brock told NBC Kawantis and his family members had just left an apartment building when the driver struck him. "I came outside, and he was laying there. I picked him up, and I knew he was gone."

Robinson was taken to Comer Childen's Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Following an autopsy, his death was ruled an accident.

Kawantis's grandfather Mike Neal told NBC he had recently looked up spinning tops online with the boy, who liked one that was colored pink and gold. "So I bought it for him, and he never got a chance to play with it."

Read the NBC report here.

Pedestrian: 5
Bicyclist: 1

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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