Family sues driver in fatal hit-and-run where SUV struck woman, ran her over a second time

Chicago News

CHICAGO — The family of 55-year-old Zoraleigh Ryan remembered the mother of six killed in a hit-and-run earlier this month as they filed a lawsuit against the alleged driver in court Wednesday.

On the night of August 10, Zoraleigh Ryan had just finished having dinner with her daughter Shannon in celebration of her 20th birthday when they were both hit by a speeding SUV on Hubbard Street near State Street as they headed back to their hotel.

Shannon Ryan suffered soft tissue damage in her wrist and now walks with a cane. Speaking for the first time since the incident and with her father Michael Ryan by her side, she said her mother was her best friend who, “didn’t have a bad bone in her body.”

“It was really nice to spend that time with her, that was kind of one good thing that came out of all the bad,” she said. “We were talking about a million things at once; I was really thankful that we got to have such an amazing conversation.”

Prosecutors say the driver, Edgar Roman circled the block and ran over Zoraleigh a second time, dragging her down the street. Witnesses say he got out to look, but then took off when one of them tried to take his picture. 

Zoraleigh’s family is now filing a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against Roman. While they are not sure if the act was intentional or just reckless, they want answers, including the opportunity to see surveillance video of the incident.

Detectives say Roman later showed up at a police station, claiming to have been carjacked by two people who forced him to drive around the city. Instead, he was arrested and charged with first degree murder and attempted murder.

Family members said Zoraleigh Ryan was a Chicago native and had moved to Arizona several years ago with her husband. She was in town both for Shannon’s 20th birthday, and to attend a baby shower for her oldest daughter.

“Why do horrible things happen to good people? They want to know why,” attorney Timothy Cavanagh said.

Shannon Ryan will be staying in Chicago a little longer while she recovers. 

Edgar Roman is due back in court on September 1.

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