Iowa man, 23, cited after mother, 2 kids fatally struck by semi

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Sunday, March 8, 2015
Iowa man, 23, cited after mother, 2 kids fatally struck by semi
A 23-year-old Iowa man has been cited in connection with an accident that struck and killed a mother and her two children on the city's South Side Friday evening.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 23-year-old Iowa man was cited Saturday in connection with an accident that killed a mother and her two children in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Friday evening.

Described as a hard-working mom just trying to reward her daughter, 30-year-old Elizabeth Peralta was walking home with her 9-year-old daughter Eli and her 4-year-old son Dylan when they were hit by a semi-truck while crossing the street at the corner at 43rd Street and Ashland. All three were killed.

"She was happy. She had gone and gotten her daughter a phone. Eli had gotten good grades, plus it was her birthday," said Alejandra Valencia. "She was my sister. To my kids, those kids were their cousins."

Valencia met Peralta not long after Peralta arrived in the US from Mexico in 2005. Peralta needed someone to help care for her then-newborn daughter. Valencia's mother was introduced to her and pretty soon Peralta and her daughter came to live with them.

"There was this girl and she was trying to make it on her own and we opened our doors to her and we helped her," Valencia said.

The driver of the semi, Zachary Barngrover, was cited for failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and making an improper turn. It is uncertain whether he will face other charges. He is due at traffic court in the Daley Center on April 15.

"I don't think that's fair because there's a lot of witnesses out there that say that when he was turning he was on the cell phone and that's why he did not pay attention when Eli was crossing the street with those little kids. She had the right of way," Valencia said.

Police said Barngrover was briefly taken into custody but has since been released. The investigation is ongoing, pending additional surveillance footage or other evidence that might come forward that could result in more serious charges.

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