Driver who fatally struck Juana Tapia Lopez, 56, on November 20 in Little Village is still at large
2:36 PM CST on December 20, 2022
The family of Juana Tapia Lopez, 56, a grandmother of ten who was struck by a hit-and-run driver last month in Little Village and died from her injuries a few weeks later, is still waiting for justice.
According to police, on Sunday, November 20 at 8:20 p.m., Lopez was walking across the north leg of the intersection of 26th Street and Drake Avenue, on Little Village's busy 26th Street retail corridor. A westbound driver on 26th made a northbound right turn onto Drake, striking her.
The traffic crash report states that the motorist then "drove to the middle of the street, where an unknown person jumped in." The driver fled north, and then headed west on 25th Street.
The crash report states that Lopez was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition with injuries to the back of her head and her lower leg.
A community alert issued by the Chicago Police Department originally described the vehicle as a red or maroon, 2004 – 2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew pickup truck and included a a surveillance image of that kind of truck. However, police have since said they are currently looking for a different vehicle.
Lopez remained in a coma for weeks after the collision. "We still have strong hope and faith that she will wake up and be okay," her daughter Daisy Soto told NBC Chicago in early December. "Even with what the doctors are saying, we still have so much faith."
Tragically, Lopez did not recover, but instead was pronounced dead on Thursday, December 8. "My mom was little, but mighty," Lopez's daughter Monse Soto told CBS after her death. Lopez volunteered with the Little Village Community Council. "It doesn't feel real. My mom was very loud and very talkative – and seeing her in the hospital so quiet, so still, was very scary."
Family members have noted that the fact the driver didn't stop to render aid, and still hasn't been caught, makes their loss worse. "How could you take another person," Monse Soto said to CBS. "My mom was a human, and for the person that did it to just leave her there like she was nothing?"
"We just want justice for her," Monse Soto's sister Daisy Soto, told NBC shortly before Lopez's death. "She didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this. We just want them to be caught; basically we don’t want them to do this to somebody else, somebody else’s mother."
According to an NBC investigation, there have been 33,000 hit-and-run crashes in Chicago this year, resulting in at least 28 hit-and-run fatalities (of all types), and 4,400 people injured.
Fatality Tracker: 2022 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets (including one scooter-on-sidewalk case)
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)
- On December 14, 2022, a male pedestrian walking in 1100 block of South Cicero Avenue in Austin when an SUV driver fatally struck him.
- On November 21, 2022, Monica M. Eason was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the 900 block of South Pulaski Road in West Garfield Park.
- On November 20, 2022, a hit-and-run driver fatally struck Juana Tapia Lopez, 56, at 26th Street and Drake Avenue in Little Village.
- On October 23, 2022, a driver struck a bus shelter at 79th Street and King Drive in Chatham, killing an 57-year-old man and injuring three other people.
- On October 22, 2022, an allegedly drunk driver struck and killed Luis Martinez Ortiz, 54, as he crossed 51st Street at Sawyer Avenue in Gage Park.
- On September 12, 2022, a hit-and-run SUV driver fatally struck Eric Ray, 59, at 79th and Martin Luther King Drive in the Chatham neighborhood.
- On August 28, 2022, Shawman Meireis was fatally struck by a Corvette driver racing another motorist in a Corvette at 65th Street and Cicero Avenue in the Clearing neighborhood.
- On August 10, 2022, Taha Khan, 5, died after he was struck by a hit-and-run Jeep SUV driver at Devon and Cicero avenues in the Sauganash neighborhood, and then hit by a Volvo driver.
- On August 5, 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.
- On August 2, 2022, Lawrence Ware, 52, died after he was crossing the street in the 4000 block of West 5th Avenue in West Garfield Park when a hit-and-run driver struck him, and another motorist ran over him.
- On July 30, 2022, a driver struck and killed Octavio Bahena Urquiza, 38, on the 4500 block of West Diversey Avenue and fled the scene.
- On July 4, 2022, a Jeep driver reportedly struck and killed a man on the 3200 block of South Pulaski Road in Little Village and fled the scene.
- On June 16, 2022, a hit-and-run driver struck and killed a Ja’lon James, 11, as he crossed the street in the 3300 block of West 16th Street in North Lawndale.
- On June 12, 2022, a distracted Nissan Altima sedan driver fatally struck Peter Paquette, 75, at Irving Park Road and Hoyne Avenue in North Center.
- On June 2, 2022, an SUV driver struck and killed 2-year-old Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas at Eastwood Avenue and Leavitt Street in Lincoln Square as the toddler rode a mini-scooter into the intersection.
- On May 27, 2022, a Honda sedan driver fatally struck Wilberto Rivera, 76, as he crossed North Avenue at Albany Avenue. He died from his injuries two weeks later on June 11.
- On May 27, 2022, a hit-and-run SUV driver fatally struck Martha Velazquez, 34, on the 2900 block of West Columbus Avenue in Ashburn.
- On May 19, 2022, a motorcyclist fatally struck Timothy Kast, 46, as he crossed the 5300 block of West Irving Park Road in Portage Park.
- On May 11, 2022, a BMW sedan driver struck and killed 82-year-old Concepcion Lopez, as she waited at a CTA bus stop on the 2100 block of West Peterson in West Ridge.
- 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 May 6, 2022, a Cadillac sedan driver ran a red light at Roosevelt Road and Damen Avenue on the Near West Side, struck another vehicle, and careened onto the sidewalk, killing a 33-year-old man.
- 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 27, 2022, an SUV driver struck and killed Larry J. Davis, 68, at 3350 S. Kedzie Ave. in Little Village.
- 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.
- On March 15, 2022, a car driver fatally struck Allen Lee Jr., 88, as he attempted to cross Western Avenue at 109th Street in Morgan Park.
- On February 8, 2022, a Chicago police officer struck Javion Marquel Johnson, 20, with an SUV after Johnson had been shot multiple times, potentially contributing to his death, at 12111 S. Stewart Avenue in Rosehill.
- On January 20, 2022, a hit-and-run driver fatally struck Richard Haljean, 57, as he crossed Touhy Avenue at Oriole Avenue in Edison Park.
- On January 15, 2022 Angel Thomas, 35, was walking to her car on the 4300 block of West Jackson Boulevard in West Garfield Park when an SUV driver fatally struck her and fled.
- On January 12, 2022, an SUV driver struck and killed Deborah Renee Jones, 67, in the 6800 block of South Stony Island in South Shore.
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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