Family remembers couple killed in Garfield Ridge crash while walking together to church

'Our lives are changed forever,' their granddaughter said

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Friday, March 1, 2024
Family remembers SW Side couple hit, killed while walking to church
Family is remembering Ryszard Stebnicki and Zofia Chruszcz, who were killed in a Chicago crash on Archer Avenue in Garfield Ridge.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Family is remembering an elderly couple who died after being hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street earlier this week on the city's Southwest Side.

The loss is heartbreaking to them.

"Our lives are changed forever. We can never, we will never have them back," the couple's granddaughter Dominika Chruszcz said.

Security video shows the couple walking hand-in-hand to church down the street before reaching the intersection. That's when a Ford F-150, driven by a 43-year-old man, is seen making a left before knocking them both to the ground in the crosswalk.

ABC7 Chicago is not showing the deadly collision.

The crash happened about 8:50 a.m. Sunday in the 6100-block of South Archer Avenue, in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood, the Chicago Police Department said on Wednesday.

"They were directly spearheaded into heaven," Chruszcz said.

Ryszard Stebnicki, 75, and his 73-year-old wife, Zofia Chruszcz, were forever torn from each other and their loved ones, while only blocks away from their Garfield Ridge home.

"Everything has stopped from that moment because my family's life, my life, changed," Dominika Chruszcz said.

Stebnicki was taken to Christ Hospital and Zofia Chruszcz was taken to Loyola Hospital, and both were initially reported to be in critical condition, police said.

"To have the doctors say, 'This is an unsurvivable accident.' And to have another phone call on behalf of my grandfather, 'This is an unsurvivable accident.' The pain can't be put into words," Dominika Chruszcz said.

They were married for 13 years. Both from Poland, they met in the U.S., and loved to travel.

Stebnicki collected trinkets, and Chruszcz was a former architect in Poland who advocated for her Polish community. She was also a vital church member in the states.

A memorial sits where the couple's physical bond was broken.

"I want closure, and my family wants closure," Dominika Chruszcz said. "If someone was just turning from a stop sign, how can you create such devastating damages?"

The memory of the love they once shared for each other keeps their family tethered.

The driver stayed at the scene of the crash and was cited for "Pedestrian in the Roadway - Due Care," police said.

No other citations or charges were filed, and no one else was injured, police said.

Detectives continue to investigate.

No further information about the crash was immediately available.