With a suspect charged, hit-and-run victim Sophie Allen may finally get justice
10:06 PM CST on December 13, 2021
Update 12/15/21, 9:15 AM: According to an ABC Chicago report, Brett Dimick had previous DUI and drug-related convictions, and his license had been revoked since 2009. Prosecutors said Dimick left sandals at the crash site, which were tested for DNA. A judge called him a "significant danger to the public," and ordered him held on $500,000 cash bail.
The August 14, 2021, killing of pedestrian Sophie Allen, 27, in Lakeview by a hit-and-run driver was a particularly tragic case because Allen had recently beaten breast cancer and was engaged to be married. But four months later there's reason to be hopeful that Allen and her loved ones may get some justice, and the motorist who recklessly took her life at Addison and Fremont streets and selfishly fled without rendering aid will be prevented from causing further heartbreak.
Today the Chicago Police Department announced that Brett Dimick, 30, was taken into custody earlier in the day at the Area Three Police Headquarters at Belmont and Western avenues. He was charged with a felony count of reckless homicide, and felony counts of failure to report a crash resulting in an injury and a death. Allen's friend Nahiomy Alvarez, who was walking with her the day of the crash and also suffered injuries.
Dimick was the co-owner of Hideaway Chicago, a now-closed pizzeria and bar at 1909 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park, and lives nearby in the 1700 block of North Cleveland Avenue. Within days of the killing, multiple people on social media identified him as driver and expressed frustration that no arrest had been made. Dimick is scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday.
Allen had been visiting from Orlando to celebrate her cancer recovery when she was killed, Alvarez said. The women had taken a photo of Wrigley Field prior to the collision and were walking on Addison at about 12:30 a.m.
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 driver of a BMW X3, SUV driver cut through the gas station property, striking another vehicle, and then fled west on Addison. The motorist then ran the stop sign at Kenmore and made a sharp southbound left turn onto Fremont, striking Allen and Alvarez in the crosswalk. The driver and a passenger fled on foot and were captured by a security camera.
Dozens of people showed up for a memorial in late August at the crash site. According to a writeup Streetsblog's Courtney Cobbs, Allen’s friends shared their memories about her and discussed how vivacious she was, and how much they enjoyed her sense of humor.
Afterward the vigil, Alvarez expressed frustration with what she said was a lack of communication from the police and expressed her desire for a more responsive and empathetic system for victims of traffic crashes. She added that she was “baffled” that, although police had the driver's license plate number and footage of the car occupants fleeing, no one was in custody.
It's good news that an arrest has finally been made. But as Courtney wrote, the city of Chicago should offer more prompt and compassionate responses for the friends and families of fatal crash victims, as well as survivors.
In addition to editing Streetsblog Chicago, John writes the transportation column for the Chicago Reader weekly paper. A Chicagoan since 1989, he enjoys exploring the city on foot, bike, bus, and 'L' train.
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