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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Far Northwest Side Neighbors Rally To Help Dog Recovering From Car Crash That Critically Injured Man

Neighbors say the stretch of Devon Avenue where the crash occurred has long been dangerous with speeding drivers and narrow lanes. A light or crosswalk with flashing lights would improve safety, they said.

A black lab is stable and recovering after a car hit her while crossing the street with her owner on Sept. 13, 2022 in Norwood Park at 6233 W. Devon Ave.
Facebook/Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation; Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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NORWOOD PARK — Neighbors are raising money to help with a dog’s recovery after a driver hit her, her owner and another dog this week in Norwood Park.

The dog is hospitalized with serious injuries; its owner was also hospitalized in critical condition, and the other dog died. The surviving dog’s vet bills are expected to cost more than $20,000 — but neighbors have donated, and a local animal foundation is chipping in.

People can donate to the foundation online so it can help pay for the dog’s care.

The crash happened Tuesday morning. A 35-year-old man was crossing against traffic between stopped cars in the 6200 block of West Devon Avenue with his two dogs when the driver hit them, police said.

The man was taken in critical condition to Lutheran General Hospital. One of his dogs died, but the younger pup, a black Labrador retriever, survived, said police Lt. John Garrido, who runs the Garrido Stray Fund.

The driver, a 21-year-old woman, was cited for driving an uninsured vehicle that caused bodily harm and for not having her driver’s license on her, police said. She had minor injuries from the crash, police said.

More updates on the man’s condition were not immediately available.

After the crash, firefighters gave the surviving dog oxygen. Garrido, who lives nearby, took the dog to Niles Animal Hospital, where the team worked for more than 90 minutes to get her stabilized, he wrote on Facebook.

The Lab, whose name has not been released upon the family’s request, has broken ribs on her right side, a collapsed lung and cannot walk. On Thursday, vets added a splint to her leg so she is now able to walk with assistance, though she is having trouble eating, Garrido said.

A scan will be needed for her leg and a possible tear in her diaphragm, Garrido said. She will also need orthopedic surgery.

The vet bills have quickly racked up. Niles Animal Hospital had a bill of $1,000, but it offered a discount and credit that knocked the bill down to $500. An anonymous donor called in and paid the remainder, Garrido said.

The rest of the dog’s care will cost more than $20,000, which will be covered by donors and Garrido’s foundation, he said.

The community has donated to help: A Wednesday fundraiser held at the Wintrust Bank in suburban Rosemont raised $1,700, which will go toward the dog’s bills, Garrido said.

People have also donated to Garrido’s foundation to help cover the dog’s bills, he said.

“We are so grateful that the network we have has given us enough money so we can quickly do things like this,” Garrido said.

The dog who died was a retired search and rescue dog, Garrido said.

Tuesday’s crash is not the first time a dog has been hit by passing cars.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
A 35-year-old man was crossing against traffic between stopped cars in the 6200 block of West Devon Avenue in Norwood Park with his two dogs when a 21-year-old woman hit him Sept. 13, 2022.

Jeff Halerz, who lives on Devon close to where the crash occurred, saw a driver hit a dog as the dog and its owner crossed the street earlier this year, he said.

The strip borders Caldwell Woods and has narrow lanes that are often backed up because of traffic. Many people cross the street as a shortcut to the forest preserves because people don’t want to go to the crosswalk at Milwaukee and Devon avenues, Halerz said.

“It’s a daily occurrence to see people either park on the forest preserve side, walk into westbound traffic and stand between cars [or cross]. … It’s not safe,” said Halerz, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost four years.

The speed limit is 30 mph, but Halerz sees drivers speeding at all hours, he said.

The latest crash is the fourth to happen between the 6200 and 6300 blocks of Devon Avenue, according to city traffic crash data. Four crashes were reported in 2021 and eight in 2020, data shows. A block west, a man was killed when a driver hit him near Milwaukee and Devon avenues in early 2020.

Garrido and Helarz said improved safety features are badly needed. They want to see flashing lights close to Devon and Merrimac or a crosswalk — anything to increase visibility and slow down drivers, they said.

“People seeing a light would help. … There is no way to cross the street,” Helarz said. “[We need] something for people to get across the street safety.”

With so much activity on the strip, something needs to be added that will help pedestrians cross the street since many are not going to go to the light, neighbors said.

“A crosswalk that’s clearly identifiable with painted signs, yellow flashing signs that say ‘Watch for pedestrians’ [would] make it visible,” Garrido said.

Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) said in a statement she asked the Chicago Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study and offer traffic calming strategies for Devon from Lehigh to Milwaukee avenues.

“I’ve spoken to my colleagues in the Illinois legislature, Senator Rob Martwick and Representative Lindsey LaPointe, about the accident and we will work collaboratively to address this intersection following the recommendations of the traffic study,” Nugent said.

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