Bronzeville hit-and-run victim ID'd as journalist, activist Hannah Hayes; suspects still at large

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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The woman killed in last week's Bronzeville hit-and-run was identified as journalist and activist Hannah Hayes. Police are still looking for suspects.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The woman killed in a hit-and-run crash in Bronzeville last week was a fierce advocate for public education and worked fiercely to better the lives of Chicagoans, her husband said.

Hannah Hayes' family said she was only a block and a half from home when the crash happened, killing the 62-year-old mother and wife.

"Everything I see reminds me that this partner of mine for all these years is no longer here," said Jesse Sinaiko, husband.

On July 11, Hayes was driving on 49th Street when the driver of a silver 2012 Lexus sped through a stop sign at Drexel Boulevard and slammed into her car. Hayes suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

RELATED: CPD release photos people in connection with fatal Bronzeville hit-and-run

The people in the Lexus ran from the scene. Days later, police released images of two suspects wanted in connection with the hit-and-run.

"They took damn near everything I had, everything that our son has," Sinaiko said.

Hayes was known as a woman with magic fingertips. Whatever she touched, her family and friends said, grew into something more beautiful.

Sinaiko said Hayes' death is a huge loss for the city. She had been ingrained in Chicago politics, working on both of former Mayor Harold Washington's campaigns. She had also been an activist and advocate for public education for many years, her husband said. Recently, as part of the local school council for Reavis Elementary, Hayes and a group of volunteers built a library from an empty classroom.

Her husband said he wants her to be remembered "as somebody who really gave a damn, and acted on that as much as she could."

Reavis Elementary now plans to dedicate the library in her honor.

She was also a journalist with pieces published in the Sun-Times, Smithsonian Air and Space, the Journal of the AMA and Christian Science Monitor, among others.

Hayes recently worked at City Bureau in Chicago as the leader and mentor of a team of young reporters tackling Local School Council elections.

Hayes' work mostly concentrated on immigration and primary education, and she was a great believer in public education, her husband said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.