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September 23, 2023


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Horrific video of motorist smashing into pedestrians released, 2 seen hurling through air

Horrific video of motorist smashing into pedestrians released, 2 seen hurling through air

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

Chicago Tribune

At least four people were struck by a vehicle — possibly intentionally — in the South Shore area Sunday morning and three of the four later died at an area hospital, Chicago police said.

Authorities were called to the 7000 block of South Jeffery Boulevard around 5 a.m., according to an online statement from police. A sedan had been traveling south “when it struck four adult male pedestrians,” authorities said.

A graphic video posted online by CWBChicago appears to show the crash. In it, what appears to be a silver sedan is traveling at a high rate of speed toward a group of six or more men standing in one lane of the street, possibly arguing or beginning to physically fight. A car is stopped in the street in the other lane just feet away, so the entire road was blocked.

As the sedan begins to approach, it appears to swerve just a bit to avoid someone else standing in the street. Then it careens into the group without slowing down, sending some of the victims hurling through the air, as far as roughly 30 feet.

A second video circulating online appears to have been a dash camera video from the vehicle stopped near the group of six men. It shows one man shove another in the group seconds before the silver sedan plows through the group. From that angle, it appears one man is knocked to the side with less force than to the men who were sent into the air straight ahead and one man in the group of six appears to have been spared by a matter of inches, although he appeared to suffer an injury to his foot or ankle, as he limps away out of the frame. The sedan continues on through a stoplight; its brake lights don’t flash until much later.

Three of the men were rushed by paramedics to University of Chicago Medical Center and later were pronounced dead. The names of two of the three men were released Sunday night, while the Cook County medical examiner’s office had not reached the family of the third victim to notify them of their relative’s death.

Devonta Vivetter, 27, of the 6100 block of South Carpenter Street in Chicago, was pronounced dead at 5 a.m., according to information released by the medical examiner’s office. Donald Huey, 25, of the 15100 block of Perry Avenue in South Holland, died at 5:35 a.m., the agency said. The third man also was pronounced dead at 5:35 a.m.

The medical examiner’s office listed the exact address of the fatal collision as 7041 S. Jeffery Boulevard, which is the address of The Jeffery Pub, the oldest LGBTQ+ bar on the South Side, as well as one of the only such Black-owned bars in the city.

The bar, which closes at 5 a.m., addressed the crash on its Facebook page Sunday.

“A very unfortunate tragic event occurred early this morning after closing. A small group of people were in the street and an unidentified vehicle drove past at a very high rate of speed injuring several people …” it said. “Our hearts (are) heavy this morning that such tragic event has occurred. And to those that lost a loved one or friend we stand with you. We always encourage everyone to leave and go to your vehicles right away to make it home safe.”

Residents who live in Jeffery Towers, a short walk from the pub, said something is always happening in the area, particularly near the pub, which is notorious for fights breaking out, especially after midnight.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesman said officials believe the crash was intentional.

Don Terry, a police spokesman, would not confirm whether the crash was an accident or intentional.

“Whatever is on the (online statement) is what we’re able to release right now,” Terry said.

The fire official said a fourth person was taken to Stroger Hospital in serious-to-critical condition. He also said they believe a fifth person may have been struck and that he was taken to a hospital in a private vehicle. The video appears to corroborate this through the image of the man with an injured foot.

Later Sunday, posts on Twitter and Facebook showed an image of a silver sedan, possibly a Buick, with a severely damaged hood and a hole in the windshield, with two Chicago police officers standing nearby.

The Tribune sent multiple questions to police in an email, including questions about whether the vehicle had been located. Twice, authorities responded without answering any questions, saying only the case remained under investigation. According to the online statement from police, which was not updated after 8 a.m. Sunday, the driver of the sedan remained at large.

Chicago Tribune reporter Tatyana Turner contributed.

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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