Friend of young woman killed in River North hit-and-run speaks out

CHICAGO --  By all accounts, 21-year-old Aly Damian was a popular and well-known figure in the River North social scene

Her tragic death early Monday morning has those who knew her well in shock.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks, for sure," the victim's good friend Darren Brown told WGN. The two became friends after meeting out at a number of River North clubs.

Seeing video of the fiery crash, near the Ontario feeder ramp early Monday morning breaks his heart.

"So many people love Aly. She's got a big heart and everyone who knows her knows that she's a wonderful person," Brown said.

Aly Damian was a passenger in the 2009 Nissan coupe, which exploded on impact and sheared in half. The driver, who Brown believes was her boyfriend, got out of the wreckage and ran off.

"I don't know if they were involved in an argument or what transpired, but the friend that I have who saw it said they just saw them flying down the street and then heard the collision," Brown said. "Just seeing and knowing that someone I love is in that video, it's just heartbreaking."

According to her Facebook page, Damian was a cocktail waitress at a number of lounges in River North. She also was a part-time promoter, and was studying public relations and advertising at DePaul University.