Chicago police: Man charged in NW Side crash that killed woman, 78

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, March 24, 2023
Suspect in deadly crash allegedly fleeing unpaid locksmith at time
Driver Kurell Purnell said he would drive to an ATM to withdraw money but instead sped off as the locksmith followed, prosecutors said, before the crash.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man has been charged in a fatal crash that killed a 78-year-old great grandmother on the Northwest Side Tuesday night, Chicago police said.

A relative said the 78-year-old Zainab Subhoh and her husband joined their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren, driving from their hometown of Highland, Indiana to Chicago to visit other relatives. They were two blocks from their destination when the crash happened in the 3400-block of West Peterson Avenue.

Police said an 18-year-old driver of a Saturn Aura was traveling southbound on Kimball Avenue. It failed to yield to the Kia Sorento, driven by a 46-year-old man, with the Suboh family inside. The impact flipped the Kia upside down.

Suboh was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Kurell Purnell, 18, faces several charges including reckless homicide. He is due in bond court Thursday.

Purnell had been at a grocery store Tuesday when he locked his keys in his Saturn sedan and called a locksmith, prosecutors said during a hearing Thursday.

When the locksmith opened the car, Purnell said he would drive to an ATM to withdraw money but instead sped off as the locksmith followed, prosecutors said.

The locksmith followed Purnell from Skokie until Purnell ran a stop sign at Glenlake and Kimball avenues, prosecutors said. Minutes later, Purnell ran into a Kia Sorento carrying the Suboh family.

Purnell claimed he had the right of way, though prosecutors noted that video surveillance from nearby businesses show otherwise. Also, electronic readings from Purnell's sedan revealed it was traveling 65 mph five seconds before the crash and 52 mph one second before the crash, prosecutors said. The posted speed limit was 30 mph.

Both drivers were transported to hospital in fair condition while a 36-year-old woman and Zainab's 81-year old husband were transported to hospitals in critical condition.

Two children, a three-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, were transported to Lurie Children's Hospital in fair condition.

Family members describe Suboh as kind and nurturing. They are devastated by the loss.

Her daughter-in-law, Summayya Suboh, said the family is devastated.

"She was an angel walking on earth," Summayya said. "My father-in-law is devastated. We're all devastated."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.