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Man fatally struck at Chatham bus stop is 2nd pedestrian killed at 79th/King in 2 months

The damaged bus shelter at 79th and King. Image: ABC Chicago

Tragically, there were two pedestrian fatalities in Chicago last weekend. Early Saturday morning an allegedly drunk driver struck and killed Luis Martinez Ortiz, 54, as he crossed 51st Street at Sawyer Avenue in Gage Park. And on Sunday morning a reckless driver struck a 57-year-old man at a bus stop at 79th Street and King Drive in Chatham and injured three other people.

This was the second pedestrian fatality at 79th/King in two months. On September 12, a hit-and-run SUV driver fatally struck Eric Ray, 59, at this intersection.

And this was at least the fourth case of people being critically injured or killed by a driver at a Chicago bus stop this year.

79th/King looking north. Image: Google Maps
79th/King looking north. Image: Google Maps
79th/King looking north. Image: Google Maps

According to police, on Sunday, October 23, at about 11:15 a.m., a 32-year-old man was driving north on King at 79th when he struck the bus shelter at the northeast corner of the intersection. The 57-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. The Cook County medical examiner's office has not released his identity.

In addition, a 64-year-old woman and a 23-year-old woman, plus a male of unknown age, were taken to the University of Chicago Hospitals in unknown conditions, police said.

The motorist was arrested and charged one misdemeanor count of driving on a revoked license and one misdemeanor count of driving an uninsured vehicle in a crash resulting in bodily harm. He was also cited for negligent driving and driving on the sidewalk.

According to a report by ABC Chicago, the man who died was well-known in Chatham and spent time nearly every day at the bus stop. "Everybody loved him around the neighborhood," said Shawn Caples a friend of the man who witnessed the collision. "He was a cool guy."

Caples described the crash to ABC. "I just looked out the window and seen him come into the pavement. God must've told me, 'Stay in the house,' because it could've been me."

The collision was captured by a surveillance camera.

A surveillance image of the shelter shortly before the crash.
A surveillance image of the shelter shortly before the crash.
A surveillance image of the shelter shortly before the crash.

According to data from Streetsblog Chicago cofounder Steven Vance's Chicago Crash Browser, in addition to the Eric Ray case, there were two other pedestrian injury crashes at 79th/King this month. Within 250 of the intersection center, there have been 13 total pedestrian crashes since September 2017 (when the Chicago Police Department started using electronic crash reporting citywide.) Four of those collisions were hit-and-run crashes.

Drivers seriously injuring and killing people at CTA bus stops is disturbingly common in Chicago. Here’s a list of recent fatality cases. In addition, on August 26 a driver struck another car and then hit a bus shelter at 63rd and Halsted streets in Englewood, injuring seven people, including two people on foot who were hospitalized critical conditions, including at least one reported dismemberment of a limb.

    • In August 2022, Angela Short, 14, was standing at a bus stop when she was killed after a Mercedes driver ran a red at 79th Street and Racine Avenue in Auburn Gresham, striking a Jeep, which careened onto the sidewalk. Three other people were injured in the crash.
    • In May 2022, a BMW driver fatally struck Concepcion Lopez, 82 while she waited for CTA bus in a shelter on the 2100 block of West Peterson Avenue in the West Ridge neighborhood.
    • 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.
    • In September 2021, a 52-year-old woman was killed while waiting for a bus in at 81st Street and Racine Avenue in Auburn Gresham, by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red and struck another vehicle.
    • 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.
    • Also in August 2019, an SUV driver slammed into a bus shelter at 61st Street and King Drive Woodlawn, killing Beverly Barney, 59, and injuring a 60-year-old woman.
    • 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 on the 9900 block of South Van Vlissingen Road when the fleeing driver struck him.
    • 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 on Stony Island Avenue near 95th Street in South Deering, and injured five other people.

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

Pedestrian: 26
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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