EDGEBROOK/SAUGANASH BORDER — Taha Khan was looking forward to having a Pikachu-themed birthday party and starting kindergarten next month, his family said.
Taha, 5, was killed about 9 p.m. Wednesday after he walked out of his home in the 6300 block of North Cicero Avenue and drivers of two cars hit him, his family and police said.
The driver of a red SUV Jeep heading north hit Taha and drove away, police said. Taha then was hit a second time by the driver of a 2013 Volvo also driving north on Cicero, police said. The Volvo driver stayed and performed CPR on the child until paramedics came, family and police said.
The crash occurred while Taha’s father was talking to a neighbor in the yard, according to the Sun-Times.
Taha was taken to St. Francis Health Center in critical condition. He died six hours later, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Khan family is heartbroken and wants authorities to find the driver of the red Jeep and hold them accountable, they told reporters in front of their Northwest Side home Thursday.
“We want help [from] every individual around this area — if they have any cameras outside their houses or businesses, please check. … We know it was a red Jeep,” said Taha’s mother, Misbah Khan.
While finding the driver will not bring back their son, the family wants to make sure the driver “learns a lesson” and is found so their careless actions take no other innocent lives, Misbah Khan said through tears.
It is not clear if the drivers were speeding, but Taha’s father, Shahzad Hussain Khan, said the city should to do more to prevent speeding on busy and dangerous stretches like Cicero Avenue.
There is a speed camera a few blocks south in the 6100 block of North Cicero Avenue. Two blocks away from the Khan’s home, there is a police camera and license plate reader at the corner of North Cicero and West Peterson avenues.
The family thinks the driver will be found by police, given that they must have traveled past both cameras.
“I know they have been working really hard — and the cops were with us throughout the night. … Everyone was with us,” Hussain Khan said. “But they have to find out what happened and who was that person.”
The family also said they are grateful to the driver of the second car who stayed on the scene and tried to revive Taha before the ambulance arrived.
“He tried his best. We didn’t see him after that, but we really thank him for that,” Hussain Khan said.
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‘A Devastating Loss’
Amid the tragedy, the Khan family has been inundated with visits from family and friends and condolences from neighbors, they said.
A few families visited the home to spend time with them and offer their support Thursday. Farrah Hussaini, a family friend who came to visit, said she remembers Taha as a “really cute boy” who enjoyed his neighborhood.
“He used to play around outside,” Hussaini said.
The family recently returned from a vacation to the Bahamas, Hussain Khan said.
Taha was eager to go shopping for his birthday party, his father said. He would have turned 6 on Sept. 26.
“He was really shy, but he started talking and communicating. … He used to make drawings and write down the words,” he said. “He was excited to go to kindergarten at Sauganash Elementary School.”
Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) and her staff reached out to the family. She called the incident a “devastating loss.”
“We have been in contact with the family to make sure they have what they need during this difficult time,” Nugent said. “My condolences are with the family.”
The Major Accidents Investigation Unit is overseeing this investigation and asks neighbors and business owners to share information, eyewitness accounts or security camera footage from this hit-and-run, Nugent said. Anyone with information is asked to call 312-745-4521.
The Khans want justice, and they urged drivers to pay better attention and slow down to protect children and neighbors.
The city has seen an uptick in fatal crashes involving drivers hitting pedestrians or bicyclists this year, with at least four children dying in June.
Joshua Avina, 15, was hit and killed in Clearing on June 24. Ja’lon James, 11, was hit and killed close to his home in North Lawndale June 16. On June 2, a killed 2-year-old Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas in Lincoln Square. On June 9, 3-year-old Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook was killed in Uptown.
Hundreds of people marched in Lincoln Square to demand safer streets after the Lily and Rafi were killed. A man who’d been volunteered at a nearby election event that day was killed just hours after the safety march when a driver hit him as he crossed the street.