1 dead, 2 critical after Streeterville cab crash

June 27, 2011 4:03:13 PM PDT
A pedestrian was killed Monday when a cab went out of control and up onto the sidewalk on Chicago's Near North Side.

The cabbie and a passengers were injured and hospitalized in serious conditions.

Heavy rain during Monday morning's rush hour may have contributed to the fatal accident. The accident happened at the busy intersection of Illinois and Columbus as commuters and tourists were getting to their destinations.

Seventy-one-year-old cab driver Yao Ofori has been cited with two traffic violations, one for using excessive speed for conditions and the other for not taking proper care with a pedestrian in the roadway.

Illinois opened around noon to traffic after a tow truck carted away the remains of a cab. The Checker cab is believed to have been involved in the fatal accident.

Surveillance cameras from P.J. Clarke's restaurant and bar caught the incident on video. One camera showed a cab coming around another car on Illinois and then sliding sideways across Columbus. A second camera shows the cab coming across lanes of traffic and onto the sidewalk.

"It almost looked liked he was hydroplaning from the back tires," witness said Alex Perrin. "I remember seeing him sliding, and he was going so fast, and road conditions were not that great. It was raining."

Perrin was walking to his office Monday morning when the accident happened. ABC7 spoke with him Monday afternoon at home. He says the accident happened so quickly he narrowly escaped the path of the cab.

"His back tires were just skidding along, which caught my attention, and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, he's gonna run into me,' " said Perrin. "And then he maneuvered however he did and he ended up cutting across whole entire street...It's honestly the worst thing I've seen in my life."

When first responders arrived they found the cab driver and passenger in the cab.

"We extricated them, got them both out both, were in red condition," said Battalion Chief David Dietz, Chicago Fire Department. "Red condition in the fire department means very serious condition."

Paramedics found a third person, a man who was apparently walking on the sidewalk when he was struck.

"There was one other victim laying on the side. Everything is still under investigation," said Dietz. "It's not determined how he got there. They were determined DOA."

The surveillance video shows the victim walking east on the sidewalk of Illinois. The victim's family has not yet been notified.

This is the second fatal accident at that intersection in two months. In May, Justyna Palka was a pedestrian killed when a tour bus turned a corner. In that incident the bus driver was charged with driving under the influence.

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