Family, friends mourn I-55 hit-and-run victim

March 18, 2011 3:14:41 PM PDT
Relatives of a Chicago man hope to get a hit-and-run driver off the streets.

Police say the victim was waiting for a tow truck on the shoulder of the Stevenson Expressway when he was hit.

Enrique Lopez, 32, was driving to work when police say his car broke down along the expressway.

A witness says he was then hit by a pickup truck.

It could happen to anyone.

Your car breaks down and you're on a fast moving expressway.

More than the dangerous fast moving traffic, authorities suspect alcohol may have been a factor in this fatal incident.

Those closest to Enrique Lopez hope police find the person who hit him and left the scene.

They spoke with ABC7 in Spanish.

"He shouldn't have run he could have at least waited because of what he did," said Lopez's cousin Estella Cruz.

"If there's anyone who saw this accident, I ask that they please help us find this person so that at least in the future these kinds of things don't keep happening," said Lopez's friend Carlos Barrios.

Last night, the 32-year-old was on his way to work when his car broke down on the Stevenson.

As Lopez waited outside his car another motorist hit him and fled.

Police found the suspected vehicle after exiting the expressway, but no one has been charged.

As for Lopez, he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he died.

Lopez was supporting his family including two sons in Mexico.

"I hope this person reconsiders and stops to think that he left two sons without a father," Barrios said.

Lopez was the overnight janitor at Alhambra Palace.

"He was a very hard worker. Anytime I came in the morning, he was always good for a laugh. He always had a joke to crack. I enjoyed his company. He was a great person," said Tyler Edwards, Alhambra Palace.

A manager tells us Lopez was much more than a janitor -- he was a caretaker, even staying two days during the blizzard.

"It kind of brings into perspective how precious life is. One minute you have a good friend you see every morning, and the next minute they're not there. You kind of wonder what can happen to almost anybody at anytime," Edwards said.

We are told a suspect is in custody at this hour but no charges have been filed.

In the meantime, relatives are planning a funeral for Lopez in Mexico.