A Chicago Fire Department vehicle fatally struck a 69-year-old woman as she was crossing a Southeast Side street in the rain, authorities said today.
Darkness and a steady downpour led to poor visibility, which appeared to be a key factor in the “tragic accident” that killed Carrie Boston as she walked to a pharmacy Monday night in the 9200 block of South Chicago Avenue, department spokesman Larry Langford said.
“Our prayers go out to the woman’s family,” Langford said. “We are just heartbroken over this.”
The accident occurred about 6:30 p.m. Monday, as the victim was leaving her senior apartment complex and attempting to cross South Chicago Avenue in a crosswalk, Langford said. Conditions were dark and rainy and the woman was wearing dark clothing and carrying a large umbrella, he said.
A fire department deputy district chief was a passenger and an assistant firefighter was driving south on South Chicago Avenue in a marked Ford Expedition, Langford said. They were not on an emergency call and had no special lights or sirens activated.
“The vehicle was operating in the normal course of business, just going from one place to another,” Langford said.
Witnesses told investigators Boston had paused at the median and apparently never saw the SUV before stepping into the southbound lanes, where she was struck.
The firefighters stopped immediately and rendered aid to the victim, Langford said. She was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead at 9:36 p.m.
Langford said the SUV was traveling “at or below” the posted speed limit of 30 m.p.h. at the time of the accident, which was witnessed by an off-duty Chicago police officer and several others.
“The witnesses confirmed she stepped in front of the vehicle,” Langford said. “They never had a chance to stop.”
Chicago police Officer Marcel Bright said the driver, a 59-year-old man, was cited for striking a pedestrian in a roadway.
No other charges or citations were expected.
By Jason Meisner and Jeremy Gorner
Tribune staff reporters
Published October 17, 2006, 2:19 PM CDT