'He just started life': Young father hit, killed by driver who tried to flee in West Englewood

Police said the driver is in custody and charges are pending.

Eric Horng Image
Monday, January 2, 2023
Young dad killed by driver who tried to flee on South Side: witnesses
Young dad Roy Lee was fatally killed by a driver who then tried to flee, witnesses said. The Chicago Police Department said the driver is in custody.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A young father was hit and killed by a driver whom witnesses said tried to leave the scene of the deadly incident.

It happened early Monday morning near 72nd Street and Damen in the West Englewood neighborhood.

The victim, Roy Lee, was about to turn 22 later this month. He leaves behind a 2-year-old son, and another child on the way.

On Monday evening, the 21-year-old's large, loving family is simply devastated.

"My nephew, he gone. You know what I'm saying? Because somebody driving reckless. You know what I'm saying? It don't make sense," said Jevonne Hodge, the victim's uncle.

SEE ALSO | 18-year-old high on marijuana, speeding at time of Kane County crash that killed 2 siblings: records

Yolanda Williams said Lee, who is friends with her son, had just left a New Year's Day party at her home around 1:30 a.m.

"We was in the house washing dishes. I heard, like, an explosion," Williams said.

Witnesses said a driver was traveling north on Damen when he suddenly swerved into the southbound lanes and struck Lee while he was getting into his parked car. That driver also struck three other parked vehicles.

Witnesses said that 23-year-old driver then got out of his car and tried to flee, but people who were at that party Lee was at chased him down and helped Lee until police arrived.

"We still had a lot of guests. My son's friends, everybody and some neighbors, they all went and caught him and brought him back and just hold him until the police came," Williams said.

Police said Lee was taken to a hospital, where he died.

"Just saying to myself, 'Why couldn't it be me, you know?' Roy's been something special to us. Twenty-one years old, he just started life," said Jarmicheal Williams, the victim's stepfather. "He was a ray of light. You know, he loved life. He loved his kids, and he loved his family."

Relatives said Lee helped his stepfather at his flooring and carpet business, and they were looking to start a trucking business together. They described Lee as talented and a joy to be around.

In the meantime, police said the driver is in custody, and charges are pending.