Pedestrian Killed On Ike Called ‘Good Mother, Daughter And Sister’

CHICAGO (STMW) — Diana Paz’s family is just coming to grips with the fact she didn’t live to see her 26th birthday Sunday.

The fog of grief and questions about the events that led to the South Side woman’s death early Friday — first a drunken-driving arrest, her release from police custody two hours later and then, finally, getting struck by a Toyota pickup truck as she walked in the median of the Eisenhower Expressway — is all-consuming, said her sister, Maria Paz, 27.

“It’s too hard to believe that this happened to her,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.

“We were looking forward to her birthday,” she said, choking up. “My mom was going to surprise her with her birthday cake.”

About 3:30 a.m. Friday, Illinois state troopers pulled over Diana Paz for driving the wrong way on the Eisenhower. Paz, of the 8800 block of South Escanaba, refused a Breathalyzer and failed field sobriety tests, according to Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

She was arrested and taken to the nearby Westchester Police Department, and she bonded out about 5:40 a.m. At the time of her release, she was “alert,” Bond said.

Paz told police she had no family or means of transportation, and she requested a ride to a nearby gas station, authorities said. As a courtesy, a state trooper took her there.

Thirty minutes later, authorities received a call that a pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle in the inbound lanes of the Eisenhower just east of Westchester Boulevard, State Police Master Sgt. Michael Witt said.

The victim struck by a Toyota pickup was later identified as Paz. She died a short time later.

According to a witness, Paz was walking in a marked median area east of Mannheim Road when the truck crossed the median area and struck her, State Police said. The driver of the pickup was charged with violating the restricted median.

Maria Paz questions why the state troopers agreed to drop her sister off at a gas station only hours after her DUI arrest.

“I don’t understand why law enforcement would let her leave like that,” she said. “They should keep someone who is intoxicated until they’re sober. And if she’s still intoxicated they should have dropped her off at home. They should have done something better than dropping her off and leave.”

Bond said “it’s not uncommon” for troopers to give arrestees rides after they bond out of jail.

Family members last saw Paz on Thursday, before she left for work at a nursing home, her sister said. Paz then gathered with friends after she got off work, about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, at a co-worker’s home, said Maria Paz, citing at least one conversation family had with a nursing home manager.

Maria Paz also wonders why her friends didn’t take her sister’s keys if she was drunk.

Diana Paz had hoped to finish school and pursue a career in criminal justice, her sister said. Perhaps most wrenching is that she leaves behind a 5-year-old son, Erik, her family says.

“She was a very good mother, daughter and sister,” Maria Paz said. “She was very hardworking, very independent, looking forward to starting her career — she was setting a good example to her son.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Centurion

    Setting a good example? By driving drunk …and driving on the wrong way on an expressway? YEA..GOOD EXAMPLE. This is JUSTICE. Other motorists got lucky she didnt kill anyone by driving THE WRONG WAY ON AN EXPRESSWAY! So, she decided to WALK ON AN EXPRESSWAY. Stupid drunk driver….justice has been served

    • Jesse Wayne Raya

      You are a coward hiding behind a fake name.
      That woman never hurt a soul. She was stopped and arrested, and would have had to deal with the courts. THAT is justice. Being hit by some guy who doesn’t know how to drive, and being killed…?
      You sir are a coward, and an ignorant troll.
      I don’t hide behind a fake name, you can find me anytime.

    • luis

      You dumb a hole. I knew Diana you didnt so how do you got the guts to say justice was served. She was a very good mom ,friend and her memory will always be a good one. As for you who ever you are she made a grave mistake and died. Diana we miss you and love you so much. She will always be a good memory to me. My heart goes out to the pas family. Lil Eric what ever people say always remember your mom loves you every much. To all the negative people out there remember no one is perfect so don’t be the first to throw stones. Only if your throwing them at your self. Diana pas will always be a good mom daughter sister and friend.

  • liz

    None deserves to die.. to say justice was served is very idiotic of you! Diana was human and humans make mistakens.. as far as her family ignore the negative. Rip Diana and my prayers are with the paz family especially Erick!!

  • Nehemiah

    Diana Paz come from a good mother and father sister brother and uncles and cousins. She was even a good mother and for her making a choice to ask a pig for a ride and the pig is not realy supos to not give a person a ride after beging out of jail. Well she is in a better place sorry for her family lost but and most of all her son.

  • Jesse Wayne Raya

    I never got a chance to meet Diana, even though I really wanted to :)
    She was a very beautiful woman, and if anything like her sister Vero, whom I consider a very very good friend, or her brother Peps, who is a really cool guy, then I am sure she was an awesome person too.
    We all make mistakes, and we learn from them. Unfortunately this time, she didn’t have a chance. She was taken from this world, and from her loving family way too soon.
    I am sad to know that my first hello will also be a goodbye.

  • Jesse Wayne Raya

    I think reporting that comment got it removed.
    Anyway, thats what the angry comments on here are about.
    Some troll was speaking his mind, and it showed his mind was that of an 8 year old.

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