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Four Dead, Two Critical From Weekend Crashes

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CHICAGO (STMW) - Four people are dead and two in critical condition from traffic crashes throughout the city and suburbs this weekend. All but one of the victims were pedestrians struck by vehicles.

Friday evening, a 31-year-old woman was critically injured when she was struck by a CTA bus that disobeyed a downtown stoplight as she attempted to cross Michigan Avenue.

A southbound No. 151 bus struck the woman about 4:50 p.m. near North Michigan Avenue and East South Water Street, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said.

She was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Fire Media Affairs spokesman Quention Curtis said.

Police said the 31-year-old woman suffered a broken elbow and head lacerations.

The bus driver, 44-year-old Sheila Witherspoon, of Chicago, was ticketed for disobeying a stoplight and striking a pedestrian, police said.

A West Side man driving a Cadillac Seville was cited for hitting and killing a pedestrian in the road on Lake Shore Drive early Saturday near Millennium Park.

Jimmy Members, 45, of the 2400 block of West Madison Street, was cited with hitting a pedestrian in the roadway while behind the wheel of a 1999 Cadillac Seville, according to police News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan.

The wreck happened at Lake Shore Drive and Monroe Saturday about 1:15 a.m.

It claimed the life of a 50-year-old man named Stephen Dapogny, of an unidentified address, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Dapogny was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police initially said Members might have been driving while under the influence.

A pedestrian died early Saturday when he was struck by a car in south suburban South Chicago Heights.

Vincent Mendez was walking on the shoulder of the road at 342 E. Sauk Trail when an eastbound 1999 Ford Escort hit him at 2:43 a.m., according to South Chicago Heights Deputy Chief Tim Wehrle. The man driving the Escort stopped.

Mendez, 59, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy Saturday determined Mendez died of multiple injuries when the car hit him and also of alcohol intoxication, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.

“We don’t know if he fell into the roadway and got hit,’’ or the car veered off the road, according to the deputy chief.

As for the driver, alcohol has been ruled out, but tests are still being done to determine if drugs or speeding could have been factors for the driver.

The wreck occurred in an area that is not well lit, and only has a few businesses such as a strip mall nearby, the deputy chief said.

Police are still looking for a car that plowed into a woman crossing the street in Uptown early Saturday, then reportedly backed up and struck her again before fleeing the scene. The pedestrian died eight hours later.

Beverly Akerson, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:58 a.m. at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to the medical examiner’s office.

At 1:32 a.m. Saturday, two witnesses saw a car traveling west on Lawrence Avenue at a high rate of speed plow into the pedestrian near Sheridan Road, according to Town Hall District police Lt. Jeffrey Hoffmann. The woman landed motionless on the ground.

The driver stopped, put the car into reverse and hit her again before fleeing southbound on Sheridan Road, Hoffmann said.

“It was cold,’’ Hoffmann said of the driver’s actions.

No one saw the license plate on the car, which was possibly a Buick.

A woman was critically injured Sunday morning when a car struck her and fled the scene in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

The incident happened about 6 a.m. in the 2900 block of West Madison Street, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

A Ford Mustang was eastbound on Madison when it hit a Pontiac Bonneville that was pulling out of a parking space and moving eastbound, Mirabelli said.

The Bonneville then struck a 50-year-old female pedestrian and fled the scene, according to Mirabelli.

The Bonneville was tan or brown in color and was seen fleeing the area after hitting the woman, according to police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala. A man driving it was wearing a Chicago White Sox baseball hall, Zala said.

The woman was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to the officer.

A west suburban Hillside man died Sunday morning, about five hours after crashing a motorcycle on the South Side.

Shortly before 5 a.m. Howard Freemon was northbound on Ashland Avenue when he lost control and crashed at 3967 S. Ashland Ave., according to a police Major Accident Investigation Unit sergeant.

Freemon, the only person on the motorcycle, fell off and struck his head on the pavement. Freemon, 43, of Hillside, was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County where he was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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