Reporting Susanna Song
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UPDATED 05/22/12 – 6:08 p.m.
SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — Carter Vo loved trains, Legos, and riding his bike, and this Tuesday morning, his Skokie community is trying to cope with his loss.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Carter, 8, was riding his bike near St. Louis Avenue and Main Street in Skokie around 4:30 p.m. Monday, when he was hit and killed by a car in a multi-vehicle accident.
Carter listened to his parents and restricted his biking to the sidewalk. But that wasn’t enough to keep him alive.
Police say in the accident Monday afternoon, a driver headed south on the residential St. Louis Avenue was making a left turn onto Main Street – a four-lane thoroughfare. That driver hit a second car, then lost control and hit Carter on the sidewalk. A third car was also hit in the process, and police are investigating the crash.
CBS 2′s Roseanne Tellez reports that driver, a 23-year-old woman, was in custody Tuesday evening, and charges were pending, according to police. Toxicology tests have also been performed on all of the people involved in the crash, but those results were not immediately available.
Otherwise, Skokie police were not saying much more than the fact that the crash involved three vehicles and remains under investigation. Police were not saying if the driver was speeding, or what may have caused the crash.
A memorial now marks the tragedy.
Carter’s father, Nhu Vo, was in tears as he talked about his son Tuesday – still using the present tense.
“He loves to bike,” Vo said. “He was supposed to take swimming lessons this summer.”
But now, all the plans that Vo had for his son will never happen. Carter, just days from finishing 2nd grade, is dead, and Nhu Vo and his wife, Helen, cannot make sense of it.
“I got him ready for school yesterday, and then that was it,” Nhu Vo said.
That was the last time Vo saw his son.
“He came home from school, got a snack, asked my dad if he could go out and bike for a while,” Vo said.
On Tuesday morning, Carter’s mother was praying next to the tree next to where her son lost his life. Carter’s father said the boy was quiet and sensitive, and had deep thoughts.
“You know, for an 8-year-old, he seemed to ask me a lot of questions,” Nhu Vo said. “Like last week, a couple of weeks ago, he asked me, ‘What was heaven like?’”
Vo began to sob. Thoughts raced through his mind, including all the ways he had tried to protect his son.
“He has asthma, and he’s allergic to peanuts,” Vo said.
But Vo never imagined his son’s life would end in a tragic accident.
Residents gathered near the memorial to Carter, heartbroken for the victim’s family.
“All the kids are our kids. And we know how important they are,” local resident Mohammad Abbas said.
Several residents in the area said they’ve had longtime concerns about the intersection where Carter died.
“I think there needs to be some sort of speed deterrent here,” parent Matt Smith said. He said the intersection of St. Louis and Main is like the Indianapolis 500, and residents have long complained.
“I think a stop sign at the school drop-off point might be a good idea, but at this point, the parents are looking for anything,” Smith said. He was referring to Middleton Elementary School, located about a block away from where Carter died.
The intersection where the accident happened is a school zone, and a crossing guard is stationed half a block west at Drake Avenue before and after school.
A school crossing guard said that spot is just as dangerous, because of speeders.
“Just stand here and watch,” he said.
Local resident Pete Podolsky said drivers speed down the street and do not stop for the crossing guard.
He said he and his wife called village officials again Monday night to urge them to do something about the problems at the intersection.
In a statement on Tuesday, Skokie village officials said, “While it is believed that human error likely caused the tragic crash, village engineers will evaluate the intersection for any safety deficiencies.”