Caregiver Killed in Hit-and-Run

Theresa Burns was helping a patient out of the street when she was struck by a car

UPDATE: Man Wanted for Questioning

A northwest suburban woman who worked at a home for the mentally challenged was struck by car and killed Monday afternoon while trying to get a resident of the facility out of the street.

Theresa Burns, 57, of the 700 block of South River Road in Des Plaines, was struck by a 1997 Chevrolet GEO Metro that was southbound on Church Road near Corporate Boulevard at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

She and another staff member at Northern Illinois Academy were helping an 18-year-old resident who'd run from the school and sat down in the road.

The driver stopped but then got out of the car and ran away, police said. Staff members witnessed the crash, an agency spokeswoman said.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our employee and our mission is to take care of the kids and support the staff that are here and cooperate with the investigation," said Mandy Moses, the agency's executive vice president.

Police said they have a good idea who the driver is, but have not found him yet.

"It certainly doesn't seem as though he was driving in reckless manner [or] that he was driving at a high rate of speed. He's got the missing piece of the puzzle quite frankly," said Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli.

A statement from Northern Illinois Academy said Burns was well-respected by residents and her colleagues. 

"She was well trained in the use of de-escalation dialogue when dealing with residents experiencing emotional crisis. This is a huge loss to both Theresa's family and all of us," the agency said.

Anyone with information on the crash or the driver should call police at 630-256-5330.

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