Hit-and-run driver dragged and killed man, 63, injured male wheelchair user, 56, in Brainerd

The site where the fatality victim's body was found, near 89th and Ashland.  Image: CBS Chicago
The site where the fatality victim's body was found, near 89th and Ashland. Image: CBS Chicago

The hit-and-run killing of a man, 63, whom the driver dragged several blocks last Thursday in the Brainerd community, appears to be the 31st and final Chicago pedestrian fatality of 2022. Another man, 56, whom the victim was pushing in a wheelchair, was also injured in the crash.

According to police, on Thursday, December 29, at 6:23 p.m., the 63-year-old man was pushing the wheelchair user across Ashland Avenue at 95th streets. Ashland is a wide, five-lane street, which encourages speeding. The northbound driver of a white 2007 Chevrolet Equinox SUV struck them and fled the scene.

CBS Chicago reported that the driver dragged the man who was pushing the wheelchair several blocks to Ashland and 89th Street. The motorist was last seen turning east on 83rd Street and then heading north on Morgan Street.

Diagram of the collision from the traffic crash report.
Diagram of the collision from the traffic crash report.

The 63-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. CBS reported that the body remained in the street as of 10 p.m. that night, covered in a sheet. Streetsblog is not publishing his name, pending the release of his identity by the Cook County medical examiner’s office following notification of kin.

The wheelchair user was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in serious condition.

Witnesses described the driver as a man between 5’10” and six feet tall, in his late twenties or early thirties, with a slim build, possibly with a beard and baseball cap, police said. The SUV had Illinois license plates CZ74463. The car is registered to an address in the Roseland neighborhood.

Image of the SUV with the fatality victim's body underneath (obscured.) Photo: CPD
Image of the SUV with the fatality victim’s body underneath (obscured.) Photo: CPD

As of Sunday evening, no one was in custody, according to a Police News Affairs spokesperson.

The narrative on the traffic crash report provides more information about what happened. “Responding officers spoke with a witness who related that he was across the street and heard the loud collision. The witness stated that he saw [the fatality victim] pushing [the injury victim] in a wheelchair [in] the crosswalk when [the driver] was seen speeding through the intersection, striking [both men] with the above vehicle, causing [them] to go in the air and land in the street. [The fatality victim] was then run over and dragged by [the driver.]” The narrative states that the wheelchair user was hospitalized in serious but stable condition with multiple broken bones. It also states that the incident was captured by a police surveillance camera.

In a CBS interview, community activist Andrew Holmes called on the driver to turn themself in. “It just probably will be a matter of time,” he said. “With all the surveillance that is out here, you never know which surveillance camera got a good look at you and your vehicle.”

Unfortunately, it’s far from certain that this driver will be apprehended. According to an NBC investigation, there were at least 33,000 hit-and-run crashes in Chicago in 2022, with at least 28 hit-and-run fatalities (of all types), and 4,400 people injured. But the Chicago Police Department’s clearance rate for these cases is far behind that of other cities. In some cases the department has failed to make an arrest for years, despite obvious indentifying information. NBC recently suggested that part of the problem may be the CPD’s failure to move quickly to collect evidence after crashes.

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

Pedestrian: 31
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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