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Józef Strus, 67, fatally struck on bicycle by turning driver at 57th/Natchez, is 3rd bike rider killed in Chicago this year.

Strus, who lived about a half mile from the crash site, was the second bicyclist killed in Chicago this month.

Józef Strus

Update 7/11/24, 9:30 PM: WGN News reported that police have charged driver Michael Kelly, 33, that pickup driver who killed Józef Strus, with aggravated DUI. Kelly was arrested by the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force Monday night in the 5100 block of South Wentworth, about eight miles east of the crash site.

Update 6/26/23, 5:00 PM: Streetsblog has updated this piece with information from the Chicago Police Department's crash report on the case.

Update 6/26/23, 3:00 PM: The Cook County medical examiner's office has identified the victim as Józef Strus of the 5600 block of S. Oak Park Ave., about a half mile from the crash site. The article has been edited accordingly.

Sadly, a turning driver struck and killed Józef Strus, 67, riding a bicycle Saturday night in the Southwest Side's Garfield Ridge community. He was the third person fatally struck while biking on Chicago streets in 2023, and the second bicyclist killed here in June.

According to the Chicago Police Department, Strus was biking at 57th Street and Natchez Avenue, about a mile west of Midway Airport, Saturday, June 24, around 9:30 PM. A male driver, 32, was attempting to make a left turn from 57th to Natchez when he struck the bike rider.

57th/Natchez, looking west. Image: Google Maps
57th/Natchez, looking west. Image: Google Maps

Strus, who lived on the 5600 block of S. Oak Park Ave., about a half mile from the crash site, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Image of the collision from the CPD crash report.

The CPD crash report on the case provides additional information on what reportedly happened. The driver who fatally struck Strus, who also lives near the crash site, was driving a 2023 Nissan Frontier pickup truck. He told responding officers he was heading east on 57th when he made a left turn to continue north on Natchez.

At that time, the motorist told the police, "he heard a noise on the driver's side of his pickup truck and pulled over at 5642 S. Natchez Ave. and walked back towards 5658 S. Natchez Ave., where he saw the pedalcyclist... on the ground.," the report states. The Frontier features a high front end, which makes it more difficult for drivers to notice bike riders and pedestrians in their path, and makes it more likely that a struck vulnerable road user, instead of going over the hood, will be crushed under the vehicle.

A 2022 Nissan Frontier pickup truck. Photo: Wikipedia

According to the report, the driver underwent a DUI test and was read a "traffic crash warning." The truck was towed and held for investigation.

The report states that the motorist was cited for violating the Municipal Code of Chicago's section 9-16-020(D), which states that drivers must yield "right-of-way on [a] left turn."

An online obituary for Strus states that he was a husband and a father of three children.

Streetsblog Chicago Fatality Tracker

Pedestrian: 15

Bicyclist: 3

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 May 29, 2023, a hit-and-run driver killed Angela R. Mcknight, 49, crossing in the 1200 block of S. Independence Dr.
  • On April 14, 2023, a Chrysler driver fatally struck a man, 59, on the 8800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue in Chatham.
  • On April 8, 2023, a turning sedan driver struck and killed Tracy Burton, 55, crossing the street at Laramie Avenue and Jackson Boulevard in Austin.
  • On March 29,2023, a sedan driver struck and killed a male pedestrian, 46, on the 2000 block of North Cicero in Belmont Cragin.
  • On March 25, 2023, a driver ran a stop sign at Washington and Green streets in the West Loop, fatally striking James Robert Thompson and fled the scene.
  • On March 19, 2023, a left-turning van driver fatally struck Guo Ning Li, 78, in a crosswalk at 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown.
  • On February 20, 2023, a right-turning FedEx step van driver ran over and killed Marsha Frankel, 72, in a crosswalk at Roosevelt Road and Wabash Avenue in the South Loop.
  • On February 14, 2023, a CTA bus driver fatally struck Kevin Herrera, 28, at at 47th Street and Ashland Avenue in Back of the Yards.
  • On February 7, 2023, a driver fatally struck Erik S. Wills, 49, on the 8800 block of South May Street in Gresham.
  • On February 6, 2023, a motorist struck and killed Stevenson Mays, 59, on the 5600 block of South Racine Avenue in West Englewood and fled the scene.
  • On January 27, 2023, two drivers collided on the 5000 block of West Washington Street in Austin and fatally struck Jennifer Kelleher, 25, and then both fled the scene.
  • On January 26, 2023, an SUV driver fatally struck an unidentified woman, 93, on the 300 block of South Laramie Avenue in Austin and fled the scene.
  • On January 10, 2023, a sedan driver struck and killed an unidentified man, 33, on the 3500 block of West Lake Street in East Garfield Park and fled the scene.
  • On January 3, 2023, a cargo van driver fatally struck Jaime Cuadra, 47, as he was exiting a vehicle on 87th Street in front of the Red Line station.
  • On January 2, 2023, a 45-year-old man was crossing Lafayette Avenue at 79th Street in Chatham when a speeding driver ran a red, fatally struck him, and fled the scene on foot.
  • 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.

Bike fatalities

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