Crosswalk at Roseland Community Hospital with “Stop for Pedestrians” sign.
2012 Chicago fatality stats*:
Pedestrian: 12 (6 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 4 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
For the second time in one week, an out-of-control car crash cut short the promising life of an innocent bystander. Last Tuesday a speeding cab in River West killed engineer, grad student and husband Eric Kerestes, 30. Three days later on Friday around 7:05 AM, Albert Charles, 54, lost control of his vehicle outside Roseland Community Hospital, 45 W.111th Street, hopped the curb and killed Kenneth Collins, 43, according to police. Collins, a mental health counselor at the hospital’s juvenile unit, was on his way to pick up a paycheck. Unlike most drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities this year prior to this crash, Charles did not flee the scene. The police department’s Major Accident Investigation Unit is looking into the cause of the crash.
Kenneth Collins – photo courtesy of the family.
Collins’ death is a senseless loss on several levels. In a Chicago Tribune article the victim’s mother, Alice Butler-Collins, said that after working for about eight years as a sheriff’s officer at Cook County Jail, her son decided that he wanted to help young African-American men stay out of prison, so he switched careers. He joined the hospital’s staff about a month ago, working with troubled teens in the mental health ward. He was also studying for his PhD at DePaul University, writing his thesis about strategies to prevent the incarceration of young African Americans. Collins had recently proposed to his girlfriend, whom he had known for five years and dated since September. He was saving up for an engagement ring to surprise her with this Christmas.
Flattened sign near the hospital.
In the Tribune article Mrs. Butler-Collins said, “It was just an accident. A tragic accident.” That was very charitable of her, but I respectfully disagree. When speeding cars kill two productive, well-loved men in the prime of their lives, on sidewalks, within one week, it’s not an accident. It means there is something fundamentally wrong with the way transportation works in our city.
* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time and includes only people who died in the Chicago city limits. View previous Fatality Tracker posts.