Fatality Tracker: 84-year-old woman is third pedestrian casualty in seven days


Looking north at California and Granville.

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 13 (6 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 4 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 6

During the evening rush hour on Monday, Ilchwa Abraham, an 84-year-old woman, died in a crash as she tried to walk across a street in West Rogers Park. Following the deaths of Eric Kerestes and Kenneth Collins, both slain by drivers who lost control of their vehicles and hopped curbs last week, Abraham is the third person killed by a car in Chicago in seven days.

Around 5 PM Abraham, who lived on the 6700 block of North California Avenue, was walking west across California at Granville Avenue near an Aldi food store, when a Kia Sedona minivan, driven by a 50-year-old woman, struck the senior. Although the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday morning that police said Abraham was walking in a crosswalk, Police News Affairs told me later that morning that the senior stepped out into the roadway from between two parked vehicles. .

A Chicago Fire Department ambulance transported Abraham to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where she was pronounced dead at 5:50 pm. An autopsy was scheduled to take place yesterday. The driver remained at the scene of the crash. She has not been charged with any violation, pending the results of an investigation by the police department’s Major Accident Investigation Unit.

* 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.

Published by

John Greenfield

John has lived in Chicago since 1989 and has worked a number of bicycle jobs, from messenger to mechanic to managing the Chicago Department of Transportation's bicycle parking program, arranging the installation of over 3,700 bike racks. He writes regularly for Time Out Chicago, Newcity, Momentum and Urban Velo magazines and works at Boulevard Bikes in Logan Square.

17 thoughts on “Fatality Tracker: 84-year-old woman is third pedestrian casualty in seven days”

  1. Sickening. Have we not enough evidence and reason now for the city to implement 20-25mph zones on our streets and actually enforce them. 35+mph speeds are death sentences.

  2. Many seniors live near the accident location, and it’s not unusual to see them crossing to and from the grocery store shown in the photo. I’ve often had problems with speeding drivers and failure to yield when riding my bike in that area over the years, and I’ve seen others have similar problems.

    Yesterday there was another pedestrian fatality in Little Village. I agree with Ash. We need 20-25 mph speed limits on our residential streets NOW, and some real speed enforcement across the city.

  3. Let me offer a writing suggestion.

    I understand your issue with “robot language,” though I think it’s mostly just a semantics thing that leads to awkward, unclear phrasing. For instance, here you say, “During the evening rush hour on Monday, a 50-year-old female driver of a minivan struck and killed Ilchwa Abraham …” Your complaint is that most media writing style removes the driver from the equation. Your solution here removes the vehicle. This sentence could be interpreted as saying the driver got out of her vehicle and punched the victim.

    Maybe next time–and sadly, there will always be a next time–try this: “During Monday’s evening rush hour, a 50-year-old driver struck and killed Ilchwa Abraham with her minivan …” Basically, “Driver verbed with vehicle.”

  4. There is a stoplight at that intersection, so something doesn’t add up.

    Giving the driver a little benefit of the doubt (I know, sacrilege on this blog), I wonder if the deceased came out of the door of the aldi and crossed there instead of walking to the corner. Don’t rely on google street view for this, as it’s an old shot. The parking lot is gone and the new store there now that comes up to the corner, but the doors are up California from the corner a little bit.

      1. Missed that in the original, but the point still stands if she was crossing midblock to get *to* the door that’s north of cali.

        As I said, it doesn’t add up. Maybe Aldi has cameras?

        1. It does seem that if the story was reported accurately by the Trib and the police, either the pedestrian was crossing against the light or the driver was running a red, unless the pedestrian was crossing California south of Granville and the driver struck her as the minivan pulled up to a red light. Hopefully we’ll get more details in the future.

          1. sources close to poor daughter who witness the tragedy said she was going west bound and driver was speeding according to witnesses. the traffic on south bound were already stopped. In my opinion she either sped to beat the light or she was distracted with her daughter on her side. whether the deceased was walking in the crosswalk or not when hit it’s always a motorist fault that is the law in Illinois it make sense unless the pedestrian fall from the sky on your bumper you always can avoid the accident by obeying the speed limit and paying attention in front of you a case in which the driver failed to do both.

          2. In this case the police found the driver not to be at fault. She was not ticketed (which she would have been if she was speeding) or charged with any crime. In fact the police told her that she could not have done anything to prevent the accident. I realize that there are two sides to every story but ultimately the police cleared her.

          3. That’s true. I wasn’t trying to be controversial, just to stand up for a friend who is so devastated that she’s not sure she’ll ever drive again.

  5. My girlfriend and I were two cars back from the scene and the lady was not in the crosswalk but was on the east side of the street (seemingly to walk to Aldi’s). Although I did not see the accident happen, knowing that area, where people just walk into the middle of the street on a regular basis even when there is heavy traffic, it is possible she was trying to cross in the middle of the street.

    1. Thanks for writing. I’m very sorry you had to witness this.

      It sounds like the driver had the green light. Is this correct? Have you talked to the police about what you saw?

      1. yes, the driver had the green, and the police determing that she did everything possible to avoid the accident.

  6. I know the driver. The pedestrian was OUTSIDE the crosswalk and crossing AGAINST the light. My friend swerved the car, honked and yelled out her open window. The pedestrian didn’t look up or hear her and walking into the path of the car. Police determined that the driver did everything possible to avoid the accident. Nevertheless my friend is traumatized.

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