WEST LOOP — A driver has been charged after police say she hit a 42-year-old cyclist Saturday night, critically injuring him.
About 10:10 p.m., a driver swerved into oncoming traffic and hit a cyclist near the intersection of Madison and Peoria streets in the West Loop, police said. The driver tried to flee the scene, driving several blocks with the victim’s bike lodged under her car before witnesses stopped her and kept her on the scene while waiting for police to arrive, according to police.
Courtney Bertucci, 30, of Joliet, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and cited for driving without insurance and for her failure to show care to a pedestrian in the roadway, police said. Her bond is set at $10,000.
The impact of the crash threw the cyclist to the ground causing massive head and facial trauma. The cyclist was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, police said.
Police did not say whether they are investigating if Bertucci was under the influence at the time of the crash.
In 2019, the city spent $400,000 to remove median concrete planters along Madison Street. Christina Whitehouse, founder of advocate group Bike Lane Uprising, said drivers increasingly sped along the street after the planters were removed, making pedestrians and cyclists vulnerable.
“There was no conversation about adding protected bike lanes instead of using that space for planters. They just removed them and now people are able to drive as fast as they want,” Whitehouse said.
West Loop neighbors are pushing to have a stop sign installed at the intersection, CBS Chicago reported.
Armando Chacon, president of the West Central Association, said for years there’s been a push to make Madison Street safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The association plans to start advocating for a new, safer streetscape.
Suggested changes to Madison Street include speed bumps, elevated intersections, pedestrian islands and expanded sidewalks along Madison Street, Chacon said.
The West Central Association will have letters of support ready for residents to sign in the near future. Before anything moves forward, community meetings would be held so the streetscape is designed with residential input.
For now, Chacon called on visitors to the West Loop to respect the neighborhood.
“To those coming to the West Loop from other parts of the city… you need to respect our residents,” Chacon said. “We need to keep the people that live here. We need to keep them safe.”
Cyclists that have been killed in recent months include Adé Hogue, 32, who was riding his bike west on Grand Avenue toward lower DuSable Lake Shore Drive when a driver hit him; Jose Velásquez, 16, who was struck by a truck driver in Back of the Yards in December; and Gerardo Marciales, 41, who was struck by a driver and killed while riding his bike in a crosswalk across DuSable Lake Shore Drive from the Lakefront Trail in February.
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