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BMW driver killed Concepcion Lopez, 82, at bus stop on Peterson Ave. in West Ridge

The aftermath of the West Ridge crash: The roof of the bus shelter, and the BMW next to the wall of Rosehill Cemetery. Image: ABC Chicago

Tragically, yesterday afternoon a reckless BMW sedan driver struck and killed Concepcion Lopez, 82, as she waited at a CTA bus stop in the West Ridge community area.

According to police, on Wednesday, May 11, at about 1:05 p.m., Lopez was sitting in the bus shelter on the south side sidewalk of the 2100 block of West Peterson Avenue, just north of Rosehill Cemetery and across the street from a Target store. She was waiting for the #84 Peterson bus.

The location of the crash. Image: Google Maps
The location of the crash. Image: Google Maps
The location of the crash. Image: Google Maps

Peterson is part of the Illinois State Road Highway 14 route, essentially a traffic sewer designed to take drivers between DuSable Lake Shore Drive and the north and northwest suburbs as quickly as possible, despite the fact that it's a surface road that runs through some urban areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. As such, it has a wide five-lane "stroad" layout that encourages high speeds.

Police said the eastbound 42-year-old male driver of a black BMW careened onto the sidewalk, striking the Lopez and destroying the shelter. The passenger side of the windshield was shattered. The senior was pronounced dead on the scene.

Peterson is a five-lane "stroad" at this location. Image: Google Maps
Peterson is a five-lane stroad at this location. Image: Google Maps
Peterson is a five-lane "stroad" at this location. Image: Google Maps

The driver was taken to St. Francis Hospital in good condition. He was cited for failure to keep within lanes and driving an uninsured vehicle.

Here's an account from historic preservationist Max Chavez, who said he was a few feet from the victim when the driver veered towards them, and narrowly avoided serious injury himself.

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 4.14.28 PM

Drivers killing people waiting for CTA buses is a disturbingly common phenomenon. Here are some examples from recent years.

    • In April 2018, a speeding SUV driver struck and killed Janice M. Gilmore, 67, while she was waiting for a CTA bus at a shelter and injured five other people in South Deering.
    • In June 2019, a police chase in Jeffery Manor ended with the death of Michael Jordan, 27, who was sitting in a CTA bus shelter when the fleeing driver struck him.
    • In August 2019, an SUV driver slammed into a bus shelter in Woodlawn, killing Beverly Barney, 59, and injuring a 60-year-old woman.
    • Also in August 2019, Myrna Logan, 81, and several other people were standing at a bus stop at Fullerton and Cicero Avenues when a driver struck them, killing Logan and injuring several others.
    • In September 2021, a 52-year-old woman was killed while waiting for a bus in Auburn Gresham by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red and struck another vehicle.
    • In December 2021, a 68-year-old woman was standing at a bus stop at 75th Street and St. Lawrence Avenue in Grand Crossing when a Jeep driver ran a red, struck another vehicle, and veered onto the sidewalk, pinning the senior against a building and killing her, a similar scenario to the Auburn Gresham fatality.

When Streetsblog tweeted out an initial report on the crash and mentioned the make of the car, a BMW owner replied that the brand was irrelevant to the case. However, multiple studies have found that BMW drivers are the most likely type of driver to get in crashes, and the most likely kind of non-SUV vehicle driver to be charged with a DUI.

BMW models were in two of the top slots for car models with the most DUIs.
BMW models were in two of the top slots for car models with the most DUIs.
The Des Plaines Metra Station/Pace bus terminal. Photo: Igor Studenkov

On February 28 of this year, a 26-year-old male BMW sedan driver ran a red light on a left-turn arrow on DuSable LSD at Balbo Drive, killing Divvy bike rider Gerardo Marciales, 41. Here are some other recent Chicago pedestrian fatality cases involving BMW drivers.

Why does driving BMWs correlate with high rates of dangerous behavior? BMWs are fast, expensive vehicles, so it may be disproportionately common for their owners to speed and behave irresponsibly because of a wealth-based sense of entitlement.

The fact that U.S. traffic fines are typically the same for affluent and poor people (although Chicago recently launched a half-off ticket program for low-income residents) may also be a factor. $100 is a very minor inconvenience for a wealthy person. That's why some European countries like Finland have sliding-scale traffic fees, and charge millionaires tens of thousands of dollars when they get caught breaking the speed limit.

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

Pedestrian: 7
Bicyclist: 3

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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