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Hit-and-run driver killed cancer survivor Sophie Elizabeth Allen, 27, near Wrigley Field

Sophie Elizabeth Allen. Image: WRAL Orlando

Orlando, Florida, resident Sophie Elizabeth Allen, 27, fought a heroic battle against breast cancer and won. But while she was visiting Chicago, our city's traffic violence epidemic (traffic fatalities spiked by 45 percent last year) ultimately took her life. On Saturday afternoon a motorist fatally struck her and injured another woman, just steps from Lakeview's Town Hall (19th) District Police Station and a block from Wrigley Field, fled the scene on foot, and is still at large.

According to police, at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, Allen and a 28-year-old woman were walking in the crosswalk at the south leg of the intersection of Addison and Fremont streets, just west of the police station. Surveillance video shows the driver of a gold BMW X3 sport-utility vehicle speed west on Addison past the station towards the ballpark, blow through the stop sign at Addison/Fremont, and make a sharp southbound left turn onto Fremont, a quiet side street.

VIDEO: “Oh my God!”

A nearby home camera captured what appears to be the SUV making a sharp turn onto N Fremont. The two victims were hit soonafter. Witnesses tell me a lot neighbors jumped in to help.

More on @cbschicago at 10. pic.twitter.com/4OA9QAOlXi

— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) August 15, 2021

Police say the driver struck the women in the crosswalk. The motorist then careened onto the west sidewalk of Fremont, crashing into an iron fence one building south of Addison. Allen was pronounced dead on the scene. The other victim was transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and treated for minor injuries.

Photo: Steven Graves, CBS Chicago
Photo: Steven Graves, CBS Chicago
Photo: Steven Graves, CBS Chicago

The driver and a passenger fled the scene on foot. Surveillance video published by ABC Chicago shows one man running south on Fremont barefoot, wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt and a baseball cap. The other man sprinted west on Addison in a black shirt and white bandana. According to police, as of this afternoon no one was in custody.

The car occupants. Images via ABC Chicago
The car occupants. Images via ABC Chicago
The car occupants. Images via ABC Chicago

According to a CBS Chicago report, workers at the Shell station a block east of the crash site at the southwest corner of Addison and Halsted streets said the chaotic scene began when the SUV driver cut through the gas station property, striking another vehicle, and then fled west on Addison. CBS ran the plates of the vehicle, but was unable to reach its owner.

ABC noted that Allen's senseless death is especially tragic because she had completed her cancer treatment in June, and was engaged to be married. Originally from Cary, Carolina, she had moved to Orlando to be with her fiance. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself at 26, so that was pretty life-changing," Allen said in a recent interview with WRAL Orlando. "I just finished the hardest part. I am looking forward to getting back to life."

Sadly, Allen won't have the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the life she fought so hard for, due to the recklessness and cowardice of a driver who didn't even have the decency to take responsibility for his actions. "I just think that is so horrible, especially for someone to do that and then just run off and, like, leave – especially in the middle of the day," neighbor Reese Craig told CBS.

Fatality Tracker: 2021 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets

Pedestrian: 11
Bicyclist: 5

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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