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Toddler Hermes Rios-Cardona killed in 2nd hit-and-run ped crash on N. Pulaski in 4 days

Hermes Rios-Cardona

Content warning: This post includes a description of the death of a child.

Tragically, Chicagoland traffic violence has taken the life of yet another child. 18-month-old Hermes Rios-Cardona, fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver Monday evening in Albany Park, was at least the eighth child in the region to be killed by a driver while on foot, bike, or scooter since June.

The other victims have included Rafi Cardenas, 2; Lily Shambrook, 3; Ja’Lon James, 11; Joshua Avina-Luna, 15; Zain Jaber, 14; and Angela Short, 14; and Julian Medina, 15.

The 4500 block of North Pulaski. Image: Google Maps
The 4500 block of North Pulaski. Image: Google Maps
The 4500 block of North Pulaski. Image: Google Maps

According to police, on Monday, October 3, around 1:30 p.m., Hermes was being placed in a car seat the back of a Toyota Rav 4 compact SUV parked on the east side Pulaski Road (4000 W.) just south of Wilson Avenue (4600 N.) He managed to climb out of the vehicle and stepped into the street. The northbound driver of a dark-colored Ford pickup truck, who had been stopped at a light, ran over the boy and continued north without stopping. Hermes was taken to Lurie children's hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

This afternoon a police spokesperson said the truck has been located but did not mention whether anyone is in custody.

A surveillance camera image of the truck.
A surveillance camera image of the truck.
A surveillance camera image of the truck.

Hermes' mother Jocelyn Rios launched a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses, which has raised more than $3,800.

According to an ABC Chicago report, Hermes' family, which also includes two older brothers and a younger sister, had just finished dinner at nearby Ruby's Fast Food when the driver stuck the boy. "They were waiting on extra food that we ordered, so I took him out to get him in the car," his father Gerardo Cardona said. "I put the stuff in the car and turned around, and he wasn't there."

"I noticed him in front of the truck and I yelled out, 'Hey!' but I realized the guy wasn't paying attention to me because he was more focused on the road," Gerardo Cardona told ABC. "When I got right to the car's bumper, I saw it lump up. That's kind of when my heart dropped."

"It's just like... I've lost hope," Jocelyn Rios told ABC. "Losing a child is losing a part of you that could never be replaced."

The family held a memorial at the crash site this afternoon, the Sun-Times reported. Members of the family called on the driver to turn themself in. They remembered Hermes as being a happy child who was closely bonded with his mother. "There was never a sad day for him," Gerardo Cardona said. "Even if it was raining, he would still be out there getting wet, playing. He enjoyed being alive."

The case has parallels with another recent tragedy. On August 10, 5-year-old Taha Khan, 5, walked out of his house on the 6300 block of North Cicero Avenue in Sauganash and stepped into the four-lane street. A northbound jeep driver struck him and fled the scene, and then a the driver of a Volvo hit him. The boy died from his injuries. The Khan family recently offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

The 4200 block of North Pulaski Road. Image: Google Maps
The 4200 block of North Pulaski Road. Image: Google Maps
The 4200 block of North Pulaski Road. Image: Google Maps

Only four days before Hermes was struck, and just a few blocks south of the crash site on the 4200 block of North Pulaski in the Irving Park neighborhood, another hit-and-run driver injured a man and killed his dog. According to Police News Affairs, on Friday, September 30, around 5:15 p.m., a 31-year-old man was walking his dog on the block when the driver of an unknown vehicle struck them and fled. The man was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital in stable condition with a leg injury, but the dog did not survive.

All of these cases draw attention to Chicago's epidemic of hit-and-run crashes, and the fact it's rare for the offenders to be brought to justice. According to a CBS report, police data shows that from January to mid-August of 2022 there were 18 hit-and-runs resulting in a death in our city, but only five arrests were made. During that time there were 203 hit-and-run crashes resulting in serious injuries, but a mere six arrests were made.

Fatality Tracker: 2022 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets (including one scooter-on-sidewalk case)

Pedestrian: 24
Bicyclist: 8

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.

2022 Chicago pedestrian fatality cases (including one scooter-on-sidewalk case)

2022 Chicago bike fatality cases

    • 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 elederly Hyundai Elantra sedan driver made a left turn onto Huron Street, fatally striking Bell.
    • On August 27, 2022, an SUV driver ran a stop sign and fatally struck Fengan Yan, 55, at 26th Street and Stewart Avenue in the Armour Square community.
    • On August 11, 2022, a van driver struck and killed Pablo Rodriguez, 55, near 99th Street and Avenue L in the East Side community and fled the scene.
    • On June 24, 2022, a cargo van driver fatally struck Joshua Avina-Luna, 15, near 62nd Street and Austin Avenue in the Clearing neighborhood
    • On June 9, 2022, a semi truck driver ran over and killed Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook, 3, riding in a child seat on the back of her mother’s bike at Leland and Winthrop avenues in Uptown. The mother was uninjured.
    • On May 4, 2022, a Nissan Versa sedan driver fatally struck Nick Parlingayan, 22, on his bike at Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues in Irving Park.
    • On April 16, 2022, an allegedly intoxicated hit-and-run Volkswagen Jetta driver fatally struck Paresh Chhatrala, 42, near Madison and Peoria streets in the West Loop.
    • On February 28, 2022, a BMW sedan driver ran a red light at Balbo Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive in the Loop, fatally striking Gerardo Marciales, 41, on a Divvy bike.

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