Pedestrian dies in Avalon Park crash; teen driver arrested

September 25, 2013 (CHICAGO)

One man died, and two other people were hurt after a speeding 17-year-old who was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Jetta allegedly hit them as they crossed the street at 83rd Street and Blackstone, police said.

Police said the accident happened at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday as the teen was headed southbound on Blackstone. After allegedly hitting the pedestrians, the 17-year-old hit a Pontiac Sunfire on 83rd Street, police said. The driver of that car was OK.

According to authorities, the pedestrian who died was a 32-year-old man identified as Eugene Ratliff. He was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The other two pedestrians were taken to Chicago-area hospitals for treatment.

According to police, the 17-year-old tried to run from officers on foot initially but was taken into custody. There was no immediate word yet on whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Ratliff was walking to his neighborhood with his cousin and another woman when all three pedestrians were hit.

Jay Thomas, the victim's older brother, had talked on the phone with Ratliff just before the accident making plans to meet and celebrate Ratliff's birthday. Thomas says he was told by witnesses that the speeding car was being pursued by police.

According to authorities there was no police pursuit. They say the car plowed into the pedestrians and another car then ran into the front porch of a house on the corner. Homeowner Clifton Muhammad was inside at the time and says he heard the crash and saw Ratliff's body.

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