Roy Lee, 21, struck by hit-and-run driver in Englewood, was 1st Chicago ped fatality of 2023

Roy Lee
Roy Lee

Tragically, just two days into 2023, Chicago already saw its first pedestrian death of the year. A reckless driver fatally struck Roy Lee, 21, as he was getting into his car after attending a New Year’s Day party in the West Englewood community.

According to police, On Monday, January 2, Lee was standing in the 7200 block of South Damen at around 1:40 a.m. A 23-year-old man driving north in a sedan struck him on the west side of the street, as well as multiple parked cars.

Lee was transported to the University of Chicago Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The aftermath of the crash. Image: ABC Chicago
The aftermath of the crash. Image: ABC Chicago

Yolanda Williams, the mother of one of Lee’s friends, told ABC Chicago she was in the house at the time and heard a sound like an “explosion.”

According to ABC, witnesses said the northbound driver abruptly veered across the road and struck Lee as he entered his car, as well as three other parked vehicles. The motorist tried to run away from the scene, but party attendees pursued and caught him, detaining him until officers showed up. “We still had a lot of guests,” Williams said. “My son’s friends, everybody and some neighbors, they all went and caught him and brought him back and just held him until the police came.”

While the driver was taken into custody, as of this afternoon, Police News Affairs had no updates on charges or citations.

Lee was about to turn 22 this month, and he was the father of a two-year-old boy, and was expecting another child, ABC reported. He worked for his stepfather Jarmichael Williams’ flooring and carpet business, and the two of them were hoping to start a trucking business, relatives said.

“Roy’s been something special to us,” Jarmichael Williams told ABC. “Twenty-one years old, he just started life. He was a ray of light. You know, he loved life. He loved his kids, and he loved his family.”

“My nephew, he gone,” Lee’s uncle Jevonne Hodge said to ABC. “Because somebody driving reckless… It don’t make sense.”

Watch the ABC Chicago report here.

Fatality Tracker: 2023 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on surface streets (including one scooter-on-sidewalk case)

Pedestrian: 1
Bicyclist: 0

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.

2023 Chicago pedestrian fatality cases

  • On January 2, 2023, near 72nd Street and Damen Avenue in West Englewood, Roy Lee, 21, was getting into his car when a driver swerved into oncoming lanes, fatally struck Lee and hit three parked cars, then fled the scene on foot.

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