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A reckless left-turning driver killed Sylwia Wagner-Jarosz, 43, on bike in Arlington Heights

6:49 PM CDT on September 29, 2022

Sylwia Wagner-Jarosz

Update 9/30, 9:00 AM: Tragically, the bike rider has died from her injuries. The Cook County medical examiner's office identified her as Sylwia Wagner-Jarosz, 43. The post has been updated accordingly.

As I've recently discussed, all too often when drivers fail to yield to other road users when making making a left turn, the result is serious injuries or fatalities. Here are some cases from this year in Chicago where negligent motorists took the lives of people on foot and bike this way.

    • On September 8, 2022, Samuel Bell, 44, was riding an e-bike southeast on the 700 block of North Milwaukee in River West when an elderly Hyundai Elantra sedan driver made a left turn onto Huron Street, fatally striking Bell.
    • On May 10, 2022, a left-turning van driver failed to yield to failed to yield to Berta Arroyo Salgado, 73, as she crossed the street in a crosswalk at Chicago Avenue and Paulina Street in West Town, killing the senior.
    • On April 17, 2022, a left-turning sedan driver fatally struck Yehuala Melkama, 44, as she walked in a crosswalk at Hazel and Sunnyside avenues in Uptown.
    • On March 17, 2022, a left-turning driver struck and killed Miriam M. Grande, 70, at Grand and Austin avenues in the Belmont Central neighborhood and fled the scene.

Tragically another impatient driver, who failed to wait their turn while making a left, struck and critically injured a 43-year-old Sylwia Wagner-Jarosz on a bike this morning in Arlington Heights.

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

According to a news release from the Arlington Heights police department, at around 7:20 a.m. this morning the driver of a white 2019 Chevrolet Equinox SUV was heading west on Lake Cook Road, a five-lane highway. At Wilke Road, a four-lane street, the motorist made a southbound left turn, failing to yield to the eastbound driver of a red 2011 Ford F550 landscaping truck with a trailer attached.

According to witnesses, the two vehicles collided, and the SUV spun and wound up in the eastbound lanes of Lake Cook, the press release stated. However, the truck careened onto the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the intersection, striking Wagner-Jarosz, who was waiting on her bike to cross Lake Cook northbound to Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve, where there's a bike and pedestrian trail system.

Looking west on Lake Cook Road. Image: Google Maps
Looking west on Lake Cook Road. The forest preserve is to the right. Image: Google Maps

Wagner-Jarosz was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police stated, and was later pronounced dead.

The SUV driver was transported to Northwest Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The owner of a concrete company the truck driver was working for told ABC Chicago one of his employees in the vehicle suffered a leg injury.

The news release said there was no evidence that either driver was impaired. Investigators examined the traffic signals and made an estimate of the vehicle speeds. They should also check cell phone records to see if distracted driving may have been a factor in the crash.

Aerial view of the crash. Image: CBS Chicago
Aerial view of the crash. Image: CBS Chicago

At the time the press release was put out no citations had been issued. Hopefully the SUV driver will eventually be held accountable for the heartache they have cause.

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