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Driver who ran stop sign fatally struck James R. Thompson, 26, in West Loop, fled

James Richard Thompson

Drivers blowing stop signs in commonplace is Chicago, and tragically early Saturday morning in the West Loop a motorist's decision to do so robbed James Richard Thompson, 26, of his life.

According to the crash report, on Saturday, March 25, at 1:06 a.m, Thompson was crossing the east leg of the intersection of  Washington Boulevard and Green Street in a busy nightlife district. Witnesses told responding officers that the eastbound driver of a black Mercedes disregarded their stop sign and struck the pedestrian with his passenger-side rear-view mirror, then fled east on Washington.

Diagram of the crash from the police report.
Diagram of the crash from the police report.
Diagram of the crash from the police report.

Thomas, a Plainfield native who lived in the neighborhood, sustained blunt force trauma to his entire body and was taken to Stroger hospital in critical condition where he was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Police released a community alert with a surveillance camera image of the car, a 2006-2010 Mercedes-Benz sedan, which may be missing the rear-view mirror and have front-end damage. All businesses and buildings along Washington from Sangamon Street to Wacker Drive are asked to check their security footage for any possible video that may have captured an image of the fleeing driver. Anyone with video or tips is asked to contact the Major Accidents Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521.

Surveillance image of the Mercedes.
Surveillance image of the Mercedes.
Surveillance image of the Mercedes.

"James was a shining light that brought joy and happiness everywhere he went," Thompson's family said in a statement. "He was a fantastic son, brother, and friend to many. James enjoyed everything sports and the outdoors and always had a smile on his face and never would pass up the opportunity to try something new. He was driven to succeed in his professional life and did everything he could to constantly learn and excel at his job." Thompson worked at Docusign. "We are devastated that our son, with an incredibly bright future ahead, was taken away by a criminal who ran a stop sign, killed our son, and drove away leaving an enormous hole in the hearts of family and all those that loved him."

"He was always dancing," his childhood friend Emily Steinhaus told ABC Chicago. "Whenever we would go out, his energy would gravitate everyone towards him and he was always having a good time living life to the fullest." Thompson was leaving Soho House, a private social club, when he was killed.

"The fact that someone had taken the life of my best friend that had so much going for him and was such a light on this Earth and just got away just does not sit well with me," Steinhaus told ABC.

Streetsblog Chicago Fatality Tracker

Pedestrian: 13
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

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