1 killed, 1 injured in South Chicago crash that sent car into garage

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One man was killed and another person critically injured in a violent car crash Monday morning in the South Chicago neighborhood.

Police said the driver of Toyota Corolla slammed into a Chevy Impala after not stopping at a red light at 83rd Street and Yates Boulevard at about 3:30 a.m. The impact sent one of the cars into a nearby garage.

The driver of the Chevy Impala has been identified as 23-year-old Michael "Nate" Rudolph.

Rudolph would have been celebrating his 24th birthday next month, but instead of planning a birthday party his family is tasked with planning his funeral.

Outside his South Chicago home family and friends stood around hugging and consoling one another over the loss of a beloved son, brother and uncle.

"I am trying to get a grip of why this is happening. You know, what this all means you know in our lives, but it's horrific," said his mother, Beersheba Abernathy.

The last time Abernathy saw her son was Sunday in church.

Abernathy said at the time she was rejoicing because he had distanced himself from the church but made sure to come and spend time with his mother.

"He hugged me told me he loved me and I'd see him later. I just didn't, I never ever imagined that would be my last time," she said.

Abernathy said she knew something was wrong after she woke up Monday morning and saw that her 2008 Chevy Impala was not parked in front of her home and Nate was nowhere to be found.

She called to get a hold of him, but no answer.

Shortly after, her daughter called her to let her know there had been an accident six blocks from their home and her car may have been involved, so Abernathy went to the scene.

"Seeing the scene was horrific. It just kind of ripped me in two," she said.

After questioning police about what happened Abernathy got the news no parent ever wanted to hear.

She said, "[Chicago Police] told me that my son had been in a car accident and that he didn't survive."

Abernathy said she later found out her son was on his way home from hanging out with his friends when the accident happened.

The Chicago Police Department said it happened around 3:30 a.m. after the driver of a 2015 Toyota Corolla ran a red light going westbound on 83rd street and crashed into the Chevy Impala as he was driving northbound on Yates.

Faheem Shabazz said he heard what sounded by a "boom" at the time of the crash and came outside to see what happened.

"I looked out the back window I saw a pillar of smoke so I said let me walk around," Shabazz said.

Shabazz started to capture cell phone video until he realized that the driver in the Toyota was trapped. He and other neighbors outside sprang into action to save him.

"We had to react quickly because the fire was just spreading and spreading all over the car and the fire department wasn't here yet but they were on the way," he said.

Cell phone video shows the point at which Shabazz handed it over to another person while he and about three other people pulled the driver out of the car's window. The driver was screaming in pain as neighbors worked quickly to get him out.

"We managed to break the windows and the doors would not open and we pulled him out of the passenger side in front, front door window and his leg was broken so we had a lot of difficulty getting him out because his leg was turned," said Shabazz.

Chicago Police said the driver of the Toyota was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition.

By the time Shabazz saw Rudolph, there was nothing he or the others could do to save him.

Rudolph was pronounced dead on the scene.

"It was surreal, it was like a movie," Shabazz said.

Rudolph's sister, Tee Hicks tearfully said she accepts what happened but the hardest part for her: she couldn't save her younger brother.

"I was his protector and I couldn't protect him," Hicks said. "I wasn't here and that's okay. I'm okay with accepting that but it's going to take a little bit longer to know that I didn't protect my little brother.

Hicks recalled her brother's love of music, his sense of humor and his love for her 4-year-old son.

"I remember every funny moment. I remember every conversation. I remember every tear. I remember everything because I want to. I have to."

There were no words Abernathy could find to share her grief.

"I am trying to get a grip of why this is happening. You know, what this all means you know in our lives. But it's horrific. It's going to be, I don't know."

But when asked about what she would miss most about her son, Abernathy did not hesitate.

"I will mostly miss his embrace and looking into his eyes. Yeah, I will mostly miss that," she said.
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