City Blockades River Dropoff Where Motorist Drowned
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Chicago has acted to prevent another fatal accident along the Chicago River following the drowning death of a 25-year-old Chicago woman.
Huge concrete blocks and warning signs were installed Monday at the spot where a young Bosnian immigrant, apparently lost and confused, drove her car off Blackhawk Street and plunged into the river early May 12.
Irma Sabanovic, 25, of West Rogers Park, was initially reported missing. It wasn’t until Saturday that authorities pulled her car out of the river and determined what really happened to her.
Surveillance video from a nearby auto-detailing shop reportedly shows her car plunging off Blackhawk and into the river. An employee who viewed it says there were no signs that Sabanovic touched the brakes as she hurtled to the unmarked dead end.
Her Ford Focus went over the edge and tipped as it plunged. It landed in the cold water upside down, and then sank.
I/O Theater director Charna Halpern had a strange feeling of déjà vu as she read newspaper accounts of the accident over the weekend.
“As soon as I saw the story that Irma’s car was pulled out of the river, I knew it was Blackhawk. And as I continued reading, I saw that it was and it just killed me,” she told CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
One of Halpern’s young improv artists, Rick Roman, was driving a cab on Blackhawk on the other side of the river in 1992. He didn’t see the end of the street, plunged in and was killed.
After that accident, the city installed concrete barriers on that side. But similar barriers that likely would have prevented Sabanovic’s death were not put in place until Monday.
Mike White, a photographer who helped create Sabanovic’s modeling portfolio, is angry.
“I think the city’s a little slow to respond. In this case, it’s cost lives of people who are cared about,” he said.
Chicago Police confirm the existence of the surveillance video from Sabanovic’s accident but says they are not ready to release it.
Sabanovic left her home May 12 with the intention of going to a nightclub at West North and North Elston avenues, not far from where her car submerged.