Fatality tracker: Young woman killed by person driving on suspended license


Photo of shops on Cottage Grove Avenue near 87th Street by Thornton29. 

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 7 (6 have been from hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 3
Transit: 5

Caprice Cunningham, a 23-year-old mother of three children, was killed while riding her bike near the intersection of 87th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in the Chatham neighborhood. Cottage Grove has two lanes in each direction, while 87th Street has a single lane in each direction. The collision happened on Thursday, July 12, 2012. “Cunningham was riding her bike east on 87th Street when she hit the front driver’s side door of a 1964 Ford truck that was northbound on Cottage Grove Avenue, [Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John] Mirabelli said.”

The family is looking for more information about how the crash occurred. From the Chicago Tribune:

While Mirabelli said that a witness provided details to police, the family said they want more witnesses to come forward.

She said she believes the busy intersection has surveillance cameras and they want police to share details of the accident with them.

“We want somebody to come foreword, we want witnesses to come forward, 87th and Cottage, that”s a busy street,” said Michelle Cunningham [relation wasn’t given].

The intersection sees about 40,000 automobiles pass through each day, according to counts conducted by the City in 2006. The intersection is outside any future, potential speed camera zone. Crash data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows 19 pedestrian-automobile collisions and 1 bicycle-automobile collision at this intersection from 2005-2010 (all “possible injury” or greater, but no fatalities). Including all crash types, there were 307 in the same time period, with no fatalities.

The Chicago Tribune also reported the driver’s history on the road (bottom line, this person, who the police nor the newspaper haven’t identified, wasn’t allowed to be driving):

According to Illinois Secretary of State’s records, the driver [a 29-year-old woman] has a troubled driving history dating back to 2001 when she was ticketed for backing up in an area where this was not allowed.

In 2009 and again in 2010 she was ticketed for speeding. Her license was suspended in 2010 after being convicted for not having injurance and suspended again last year after she failed to get high-risk insurance as required, according to records.

The driver was cited for the following infractions:

  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • operating a vehicle without insurance
  • Violating restrictions on her driver’s license [the Chicago Tribune article didn’t specify what these restrictions were]
  • Driving an unsafe vehicle [the Chicago Tribune article didn’t specify what was unsafe about the vehicle]

This Google Street View image is looking east along 87th Street at the intersection with Cottage Grove Avenue, where the bicyclist collided with a northbound ice cream truck. View larger.

The Chicago Sun-Times also reported on this story. Visit Cunningham’s page on Every Bicyclist Counts.

* 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.

8 thoughts on “Fatality tracker: Young woman killed by person driving on suspended license”

    1. It seems that, according to the family, there are cameras at this intersection, and they would like to see them. So would I. Well, I don’t actually want to see the crash occurring, but I think that police should speak up on the availability of film at this location at that time.

      1. If you look at the top of the light pole on the right side of the google street view image you included, there is something that looks like a camera. It’s hard to tell, as the image is cut right there, and the part that would be the camera is out of focus. But I would bet that’s what that is. But knowing who ran the light is very important to knowing what happened here and why this woman died.

  1. What a horrible story. So sad for the family.

    The driver’s history of tickets doesn’t sound all that egregious or unusual. Her license was revoked for not having insurance, which makes me think she is poor and couldn’t afford it. “Unsafe” and 1964 also suggests she couldn’t afford to keep up with repairs and safety standards. None of that excuses her driving while suspended though, though, because it’s illegal to drive without a license and insurance — and it puts others at risk. It’s unfortunate for low income people, but people who can’t afford insurance just cannot drive.

    I hope the police have footage that shows what happened. If the cyclist ran the light and drove into the car, there’s probably nothing that can be done. If the car ran the light, though, the driver should be charged with a homicide.

  2. R.I.P Caprice I knew she was smart enough not to run a light on a bicycle, I will further check out the google street map to see if any cameras were available.

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