Chicago Police

Friends of Hit-and-Run Victim Say Officials Won't Respond to Their Pleas for Justice

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One year after the hit-and-run that killed Linda Mensch, her loved ones continue to fight for justice in her case - even as they say police won't respond to them.

Mensch and a friend were leaving the Garfield Park Conservatory last August when she was fatally struck in the crosswalk, a peaceful visit that - in an instant - ended in tragedy.

Mensch's friends gathered at the conservatory on the anniversary of her death to lay flowers, some they grew themselves, to honor her memory and to celebrate the beauty she brought to their lives, as they try to do right by the woman they say uplifted them so many times.

Newly obtained emails reveal the steps Chicago police took in a deadly hit-and-run case — only after NBC 5 Investigates started asking questions. Phil Rogers reports.

"There have been no answers yet," her friend Joan Sullivan said. "It’s a year too long to not know what happened to Linda or why it happened. She should still be here."

One year later, Chicago police still have not made an arrest - even though they have the van that killed her and know who owns it.

"There’s no reason that after a year, that this case should still be unsolved," said Lynn Orman Weiss.

On Mensch's birthday in March, her friends wrote letters to the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, pleading for action.

"We just sent out probably over 300 cards to people we thought were really important to make a difference in solving this case," Orman Weiss said.

More than 300 hundred letters - and not a single response.

"We want to know that our voices are heard. Don’t dismiss them," Orman Weiss said.

One year after her death, Mensch's friends learned of plans to make the crosswalk safer, changes they fought for to protect other pedestrians. While they said those changes would make Mensch happy, they come a year too late and they bring no justice.

Chicago saw more than 37,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2021, but over that same time period, just 306 people were arrested on charges related to fleeing the scene of a crash, according to city data analyzed by NBC 5 Investigates. Phil Rogers has the story.

They say they won't stop until her killer is held accountable and off the streets.

"It won’t bring Linda back but at least it will give us some peace," Sullivan said. "It would be justice for her and I think that it just would allow all of us to rest a little easier in our memories of Linda without having to always, year after year after year, 'What happened, why did it happen, who did it?'"

"We just love Linda and we miss her so much," she added.

Chicago police said the investigation into the crash remains ongoing. A spokesperson for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said in a statement that police have not referred the case for criminal charges, adding that they will review all information once presented to "determine if criminal charges are appropriate - based on the facts, evidence, and the law."

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