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Police: Distracted Driver Kills Summit Man On Street

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A fatal accident at Harlem Avenue and 61st Place  in Summit. (CBS)

A fatal accident at Harlem Avenue and 61st Place in Summit. (CBS)

Updated 04/29/13 – 11:54 a.m.

SUMMIT (CBS) — A Summit man was loading items in his truck Monday morning when he was struck and killed by a passing motorist who, police say, was distracted.

The victim, 46-year-old Salatiel Mendoza, was loading wood boards onto his truck when he was killed in front of his house, in the 7200 block of West 61st Place, around 5:30 a.m.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports Mendoza worked in construction, and was double-parked outside his house as he was getting ready to go to work when he was killed.

A witness said the young woman driving the car told police she didn’t see him.

Mendoza’s sister was distraught as she clutched her brother’s pillow Monday morning.

“He was my best friend. He was very nice; working guy. He used to work at Domino’s Pizza. He was in construction, and he had a stepson, and now he was going to adopt a kid. As a matter of fact, they went for adoption papers yesterday,” Edna Gutierrez said.

Police said the driver, 21-year-old Jessica Munoz, “was somehow distracted,” but declined to elaborate.  They could not confirm if she was texting at the time of the accident.

A man who was helping Mendoza load the truck at the time of the accident tells CBS 2 the driver had a phone in her hand when she hit Mendoza.

Munoz was issued three traffic tickets one of which was failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Her cell phone was being examined by investigators.

Texting while driving has been illegal in Illinois since January 2010. Police say if the driver was texting when she hit Mendoza, she could be charged with reckless driving.