Cars, Deaths, Drinking, DUI / DWI

Northwestern Law Student Killed in Hit-and-Run Accident

Over the weekend, a Northwestern 3L was hit and killed by an allegedly drunk driver in downtown Chicago.

The student was crossing the street to get a late-night snack when a woman hit him. She continued driving — at one point going the wrong way down a one-way street — until police noticed the extensive damage to the front of her car and pulled her over.

This is not the kind of story we like to write here at Above the Law. But keep reading for details on the student whose life was cut too short….

The Chicago Tribune reports on the upsetting circumstances surrounding 32-year-old Jesse Bradley’s death, early Saturday morning:

Jesse Bradley was struck in a crosswalk on LaSalle at Division by the southbound Jeep Liberty about 2:30 a.m., police said.

The SUV continued south, turned east onto Elm Street — driving two blocks the wrong way down the one-way street — before turning south on Dearborn, where police pulled the Jeep over.

The officers saw the maroon-colored vehicle had sustained heavy front-end damage, was missing one headlight, and smoke was rising from the engine compartment, police said.

A 21-year-old woman named Bianca Garcia was driving the Jeep. She was charged with felony aggravated DUI, misdemeanor DUI, and misdemeanor reckless driving, police said. She was also cited for failure to have a driver’s license and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Our condolences go out to Bradley’s family, and we agree wholeheartedly with what his sister told the Tribune:

“It’s just bizarre. It really shows you how life can change in an instant,” she said. “He was healthy. He was living. And he died. He should not have died at 32.”

I admit, I had a moment of fear before I clicked our tipster’s link to the news story, because I have several friends who are Northwestern Law students. And Chicago can be a dangerous place for pedestrians; I can name at least three people from my time living there who were hit by cars.

Not to be moralistic or maudlin, but stuff like this gives me real pause. You often read stories like this in the newspaper and usually ignore them, thinking it could never happen to you. But you never know.

Just before Christmas, my uncle and grandmother were hit head-on by a drunk driver. They got lucky. Despite breaking almost all their ribs, they survived the wreck.

But it’s a coin toss. And it’s so unfair:

The information that is available gave little comfort to his family, Bradley’s mother said.

“He was a wonderful son. He was not supposed to be taken away — not by somebody who was driving too fast and drinking,” his mother said. “He didn’t stand a chance … He was just going to get something to eat across the street.”

If you knew Bradley, feel free to share memories in the comments. Please, try to remain respectful.

DUI charges following fatal Near North hit-and-run [Chicago Tribune]

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