On the morning of Feb. 4, a freshman at Richards High School left her home to walk to school. She would never make it. Instead, she was struck and killed by a man who police believe drove intoxicated that morning
The 15-year-old student suffered traumatic injuries to her torso. She died at the Advocate Christ Medical Center after transport.
The driver identified
The driver responsible for the student’s death is a 25-year-old man from Oak Lawn. The fatal accident occurred while the man was fleeing the scene of a prior hit-and-run accident in his home town that occurred just moments before. In that accident, he rear-ended a car on 95 Street near Central. That accident did not result in any known injuries.
Chicago Ridge Police had taken up pursuit of the man after they got the alert that he fled the scene in Oak Lawn. An officer spotted the suspect vehicle, a Volkswagen, and made a U-turn to take up pursuit. The police cruiser behind the man caught the fatal collision with the student on the officer’s dash cam. The officer stopped to give aid to the student, and the driver continued to flee.
Eventually, Chicago Ridge Police caught up to the man after bystanders reported seeing him a few blocks from the fatal scene. They took him into custody with pending charges.
Reconstruction crews at work
While the dash cam footage is helpful, the Illinois State Police sent in their elite accident reconstructionist team. They will meticulously trace the driver’s fatal footsteps from the scene of the first incident to where law enforcement apprehended him.
High school students stunned
The student, although just a freshman, received high praise from her classmates and school administration via social media on Monday. The high school posted a special message for her, detailing her kindness, consideration and willingness to go out of her way to help friends.