Minivan driver flees red-light crash, leaving fatally-injured passenger behind

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CHICAGO — Chicago police are searching for a woman they say ran a red light before crashing into an Uber early Thursday morning in Greektown, leaving a passenger in her vehicle dead and injuring five others.

Around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, police say a woman driving southbound on Halsted in a 1999 Pontiac Montana minivan ran a red light at Madison Street and crashed into a Toyota Camry in the intersection. The 42-year-old Uber driver in the sedan later told police he had the green light.

After the crash, police say the driver of the minivan fled on foot, leaving behind mortally-injured passenger Kenneth Smith and three others, who were taken to hospitals in stable condition. The Uber driver and his passenger suffered only minor injuries.

Those who know 28-year-old Smith say they’re confident police will find the culprit, thanks to city surveillance, red light cameras and witnesses on the scene.

“They know who you are so you’re going to be found,” family member Janice Bankhead said, addressing the driver. “I’m sure she’s injured. So she’s going to have to go into the hospital sooner or later to get herself checked out.”

Bankhead said Smith leaves behind a seven-year-old son.

“He’s a sweet little boy. And we’re going to do whatever we can to make him feel comfortable and happy,” Bankhead said.

Chicago police detectives seem to have a pretty good idea of who they’re looking for as the investigation continues.


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