Student hospitalized after hit-and-run

By Dan Kimerling

A University student was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in front of the Social Services Administration (SSA) building Thursday morning around 10 a.m. It was at least the third accident involving pedestrians and automobiles since school started three weeks ago.

Although exact details are hard to pin down, the maroon was able to learn that the victim, a graduate student in the humanities division, was riding her bike across the Midway Plaisance, when she was struck by a car at the intersection of 60th Street and Ellis Avenue.

Martina Munsters, deputy dean of students for student affairs in the University, was unavailable to comment. Virgie Sellers, administrative assistant for student affairs in the College, and the dean on call, said that the unnamed victim was in stable condition at the Northwestern University Medical Center. The student is likely to be in the hospital for several days, after having surgery on her legs. Sellers also stated that the University of Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Police Department are investigating the crime.

Pat Rich, a first-year in the College, was hit by a car on Wednesday, October 13. He was riding his bike at the intersection of 56th Street and S. Hyde Park Boulevard when the driver of the car, the Honorable James H. Williams, a judge in Cook County, ran into him as he was crossing through the intersection.

Rich was unharmed, and did not need medical attention. Williams was not charged, and no report was filled. Rich said that he was “riding through the intersection when the car just rolled through the stop sign, and accelerated into me.”

Keith Madderom, the associate dean of students for the SSA and one of the first administrators on scene of Thursday’s accident, said that when he arrived, the police, fire, and emergency medical services were already on the scene. The police were talking to eyewitnesses, who did not have a clear recollection of the incident.

Another witness, Sid Colton, a production room manager in the SSA, said that the victim had both head and leg injuries, and was conscious after the accident. Her bicycle was totaled, but was inspected by the police, who locked it to a tree until it could be taken for evidence.

Madderom said that at 10 a.m., the assorted traffic—pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile—is heavy, and that accidents are not uncommon. He noted that the accident disrupted the entire day at the SSA, as the accident drew the attention of everyone crossing the midway.

“The driver just hit her and then fled the scene,” he said.

Madderom also said that many first-years are new to the area and may not realize the volume of traffic that goes across the midway on Woodlawn, Dorchester, and Ellis.

With the University’s plan to build new undergraduate housing south of campus to replace the Shoreland in 2008, the volume of students crossing the Midway will increase dramatically.

Madderom said that the city should “do anything to make crossing the midway safer.”