Hit-and-run driver fatally struck Miriam Grande, 70, at Grand/Austin in Belmont Central

Miram Grande
Miram Grande

Update 3/24/22, 8:15 AM: ABC Chicago reported that a driver has been cited for the hit-and-run crash, but had not yet been identified.

Police are seeking the driver who struck and killed Miriam M. Grande, 70, yesterday evening on a car-centric stretch of Grand Avenue in the Belmont Central neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side.

On Thursday, March 17, at about 8:00 p.m., Grande was walking south across the 6000 block of West Grand in a crosswalk, according to Police News Affairs. Grand is a northwest-southeast diagonal street at this location, so the intersection is skewed.

The driver of an unknown vehicle struck Grande, according to News Affairs. She was found unresponsive in the street following the crash.

Grande suffered head and body injuries and was taken to Loyola Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Grand/Austin, looking north. A northbound driver made a left turn here, fatally striking Grande, who was walking south in the west leg of the intersection. Image: Google Maps
Grand/Austin, looking north. A northbound driver made a left turn here, fatally striking Grande, who was walking south in the west leg of the intersection. Her body landed in front of Playas Nayaritas restaurant, at the northwest corner. Image: Google Maps

According to an ABC Chicago report, Grande’s body landed in front of Playas Nayaritas Mexican restaurant at the northwest corner of the intersection, and police have footage of the cash from the business’ security camera. Employees said the driver who struck her was heading north before they made a northwest-bound left turn and failed to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk. “They pulled up, then pulled back a little bit and then drove away,” Playas Nayaritas manager Luis Tellez said. “It’s not fair, you know? Because, it’s a human life.”

Sidewalk bump-outs and pedestrian islands can help prevent this kind of crash by reducing pedestrians’ exposure to traffic, and encouraging drivers to slow down while executing turns.

Approximate routes of Grande (green) and the driver (red.) Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps
Approximate routes of Grande (green) and the driver (red.) Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps

Family members told ABC Grande, who was an immigrant from El Salvador, had attended church that evening and was walking back to her home at the Senior Suites Belmont Cragin, located on the south side of Grand Avenue, a block west of Austin. She had just celebrated her 70th birthday weeks before she was killed. “She’s the best mom we could’ve ever asked for,” her daughter Rosio said. “She’s the sweetest, most generous person I’ve ever known. And, the fact she’s not here anymore and how she passed, I guess, is what hurts the most.”

Vargas pleaded for the driver to turn themself in. “You still have a chance to do the right thing. And, I know wherever she is, she forgives you. Just like we forgive you. Because that what my mom wants.”

Fatality Tracker: 2022 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets

Pedestrian: 3
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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG