Taxi strikes, kills pedestrian in Streeterville
Rescue personnel work to extricate the passenger of a taxi in a fatal crash at Illinois Street and Columbus Drive in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune / June 27, 2011)
As he approaches a parking garage driveway east of Columbus Drive, he looks toward the street, presumably checking for cars, and continues on his way.
He likely never saw the taxi that veered wildly off ofIllinois and ran him over before crashing into the parking garage.
The man, who was in his 40s but whose identity has not been released, was killed just before 9 a.m. Monday, officials said.
The cabdriver, Yao Ofori, 71, and a female passenger, 51, were taken toNorthwestern Memorial Hospital. He was in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. The woman suffered a broken leg among other injuries, police said.
Ofori, of the 4700 block of South Lake Park Avenue in Chicago, was ticketed for driving too fast for road conditions and striking a pedestrian, police said.
It was the second time in the past two months that a pedestrian has been struck by a vehicle and killed near the busy intersection just east of Michigan Avenue.
In May a tour bus struck and killed Justyna Palka, a 26-year-old graphic artist, who was in the crosswalk of the intersection when she was hit by the bus. The driver was charged with driving under the influence.
But such accidents have not been common at the intersection in recent years. There were no reported accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles there last year, and just two in 2009, said Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Steele.
The surveillance video, captured by a camera at a nearby business, shows the pedestrian walking east on the north side of Illinois Street as the cab, also eastbound on Illinois, crosses Columbus Drive. The cab appears to pass a car on its left just after the intersection, then veers north across the one-way street before hitting the man and the garage.
Since 1988, Ofori has been convicted for three traffic violations, two for making improper turns and another for improper lane use, according to Cook County court records. During that time he has been issued nearly 30 traffic tickets for a variety of infractions, records show.
Chinetta Jefferson, 40, who works at a nearby parking lot, said she heard screeching tires and ran out of her attendant booth. She then saw the taxi speeding down Illinois Street and swerve into the man on the sidewalk.
“You can be walking and in an instant your life is gone,” she said.
Tribune reporters Liam Ford and Alissa Groeninger contributed.