CHICAGO — The driver charged in the hit-and-run that killed a 22-year-old cyclist last week turned himself into police after his mother urged him to, prosecutors said.
Phil Pinkawa, 57, of the 2900 block of North Troy Street, was charged with failing to report an accident that resulted in death, police said. Prosecutors said Pinkawa hit Nick Parlingayan Wednesday night in the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, just across the street from where another driver killed bicyclist Carla Aiello in 2019.
Pinkawa was ordered held on a $50,000 bail and was still in jail as of Monday morning, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s website.
On Wednesday, Pinkawa had just left his job at a pizzeria to get food when he hit Parlingayan, dragging and throwing him off his bike, prosecutors said at bond hearing over the weekend. Pinkawa drove off, and a passerby called police, prosecutors said.
The crash was captured on surveillance footage from a nearby business, prosecutors said.
The next morning, Pinkawa’s mother woke up early and saw news about the fatal hit-and-run. When she woke up her son for work, she told him about the news and that police were looking for a Nissan Versa, prosecutors said.
Pinkawa’s mom had put “two and two together” and urged her son to turn himself in, prosecutors said, according to the Tribune.
“The defendant then admitted to his mother that he was the driver who had struck the bicyclist [and] thereafter informed his employers about what he had done,” prosecutors said.
Pinkawa’s employers helped him turn himself in, prosecutors said.
Pinkawa was arrested at his home, police said. His next court date is Friday.
Detectives found Pinkawa’s Nissan in his garage and matched the debris found at the crash scene to the car’s missing parts. There was also significant front-end damage and windshield damage, prosecutors said.
After the fatality — which was the third cycling death this year — advocates and neighbors criticized city officials for not improving bike safety, especially on Milwaukee Avenue.
Transportation advocates have long said the street needs better protections for people on bikes and pedestrians. When a driver killed bicyclist Aiello in 2019, the stretch of Milwaukee she was on had bike lanes — but they were only painted, and the paint had faded, advocates said.
Reflective bike lanes and plastic bollards were added six months after Aiello’s death and after a resident took it upon themself to repaint the faded lane markings. The lanes were later officially repainted and bollards were installed, but the lanes are again faded and the flexi-post bollards are damaged.
Sue Hofer, a Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson, previously said the transportation department is reassessing the entirety of Milwaukee for safety.
The area where Parlingayan was killed has recently become a perfect storm for disaster between a lack of pedestrian protections and the work being done to replace the Grayland Metra station, residents said. Construction is also underway a few blocks up at Six Corners, where a series of projects are in the works.