west loop

Bicyclist Dies Days After Being Struck by Driver in West Loop Who Tried to Flee Scene

A bicyclist has died days after he was struck in the West Loop by a driver who allegedly swerved into oncoming traffic and kept on driving with his bicycle lodged under the car.

Paresh Chhatrala, 42, died Wednesday afternoon at Stroger Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He lived in West Town.

Chhatrala was biking west on Madison Street Saturday night when an oncoming driver swerved to avoid a metal plate on the road at Peoria Street, according to a police report.

Chhatrala was struck by the driver and thrown into the air, police said. He was hospitalized in critical condition with injuries to his head and body.

The driver, Courtney Bertucci of Joliet, continued going with Chhatrala’s bike stuck under her car but was stopped by several witnesses at Aberdeen and Monroe streets, police said. When officers arrived, a citizen was holding Bertucci, 30, against her Volkswagen Jetta.

At the time of the crash, police said they suspected Bertucci was under the influence of drugs. Officers found empty baggies of possible heroin in her car, according to the police report.

She was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating an uninsured vehicle and striking a pedestrian in a roadway. A judge ordered her held on $10,000 bond.

In 2019, the city removed concrete planters along the middle of Madison Street to ease congestion, leading to calls from transit activists that pedestrians and cyclists have been left vulnerable, according to Block Club Chicago.

The planters were famously installed to beautify the neighborhood by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in the run-up to the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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