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Pedestrian Fatality

Turning SUV driver failed to yield to woman, 48, in Pilsen crosswalk, killing her in front of 25th Ward office

"[This is] even more reason for the alderman to step up and do something about traffic safety in this city," said a Streetsblog reader.

The crosswalk on Cermak where the victim was struck, and the 25th Ward office, looking north towards Hoyne, during street resurfacing in August 2021. Image: Google Maps

Update 8/28/23: 10:22 AM: This morning Block Club Chicago reported that driver Leonel Maceo Torres, 38, "was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor of driving an uninsured car while causing 'bodily harm' and one misdemeanor of driving with a suspended license, police said. He was also given a citation for not giving a pedestrian the right-of-way."

Update 8/25/23: 5:15 PM: The Cook County medical examiner's office has released the name of the victim: Irene Celestino Devillada.

Update 8/25/23, 10 AM: According to a CBS news report by Sabrina Franza, the victim had just dropped off one of her daughters to karate class when she was struck. Witnesses said the driver was speeding and blew his stop sign.

"This is the most tragic incident we have had, but we have had [problems] along Cermak in particular," Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez told CBS. He said that since May he's been talking with city and state officials about conducting a traffic study at Cermak/Hoyne, because he feels the intersection needs more than just stop signs to make it safer.

"With a new mayor, there will be a new commissioner [of transportation]," Sigcho-Lopez said, according to CBS. "And with our state representatives, I do hope that there's more collaboration, so ultimately, we prevent these tragedies."

View the CBS report here.

Aerial view of the Cermak/Honye intersection where the pedestrian was killed Wednesday evening. Image: Google Maps

Content warning: This article includes a graphic description of an act of traffic violence.

Tragically, a turning SUV driver with a suspended license failed to yield to a woman, 48, walking in a Pilsen crosswalk and fatally struck her. The crash took place Wednesday evening in Pilsen at Cermak Road (2200 S.) and Hoyne Avenue (2100 W.), directly in front of Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez's (25th) office.

According to the initial Chicago Police Department statement, at about 5:33 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, the woman was crossing Cermak in a crosswalk in the west leg of its intersection with Hoyne. The driver was traveling south on Hoyne and then made a westbound right turn, striking her. The victim was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The motorist stayed on the scene.

As of Thursday afternoon, the victim's identity had not been released, pending notification of kin, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Image of the collision from the crash report.

The report says the victim's address was about two blocks from the crash site. The driver is listed at an address about 1.5 miles northeast in Pilsen. (Streetsblog Chicago generally does not publish the names and exact address of people involved in crashes or witnesses if they are listed in crash reports but this info has not been publicized by CPD and/or the medical examiner.)

"Responding officers observed [the driver's vehicle, a 2007 Toyota Highlander] stopped at 2014 W. Cermak Road with a female pedestrian stuck underneath the rear passenger side of the vehicle," the report stated. The officers observed her to be "medically incapacitated, with distorted extremities and bleeding heavily." Chicago Fire Department personnel pulled her out from under the SUV and took her to Stroger.

The driver told police he was suffering from chest pains, and he was transported to St. Anthony Hospital by ambulance, according to the report. He agreed to submit to urine and blood tests. His vehicle was towed to a city of Chicago auto pound for investigation.

After the driver was medically cleared, he was taken to the 12th District police headquarters for processing, the report stated. He was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, driving on a suspended license, and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Looking southwest toward the intersection where the driver struck the pedestrian, as it appeared in July 2018. Image: Google Maps

The incident was captured by a Police Observation Device camera and a private surveillance camera, the report said.

Witnesses told officers the turning driver struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk and then dragged her 20-30 feet under his vehicle, before stopping in front of 2104 W. Cermak Rd., just west of the Ald. Sigcho-Lopez's office, according to report.

"[This is] even more reason for the alderman to step up and do something about traffic safety in this city," said a Streetsblog reader who informed us about the incident after reading about it in a Pilsen Facebook discussion group.

The 25th Ward office did not immediately respond to Streetsblog's request for comment, but we will add an update if we hear from them.

Streetsblog Chicago Fatality Tracker

Pedestrian: 19

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

2023 Chicago bike fatalities

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