Just days after a Chicago attorney was killed in a hit-and-run, those who knew her are grieving and mourning, remembering their friend for her compassion, empathy and willingness to help others.
Linda Mensch, 70, was leaving the Garfield Park Conservatory at approximately 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon when she was struck near Fulton Boulevard and Central Park Avenue.
“This loss is just unfathomable to me and everyone else who loved Linda,” said friend Gail Zugerman.
The two were friends for more than 45 years.
“It’s just senseless, and I can’t believe I’ll never see her again or talk to her," Zugerman said. “It’s hard to believe when it’s a shock like this, it’s hard to process.”
Mensch, a wife and mother was an entertainment attorney, who friends said was family-oriented. She spent the past 12 years serving on the board of A Safe Haven Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for people in crisis.
“This is the community that she was working side by side, to help the most vulnerable populations in communities suffering from poverty, the crime, the addiction issue, and it's the very same community that she loss her life in,” said Neli Vazquez Rowland, president and founder of A Safe Haven Foundation.
Vazquez Rowland said Mensch was not only a board member, but her close friend.
“She was just an amazing friend who always saw the good in things, and for me she was an excellent wise counsel on so many issues,” she stated.
NBC 5 learned Mensch had just left the conservatory with her friend, who was visiting from out of state. They were walking in the crosswalk, Mensch's friend just steps in front of her, when the driver of a van came barreling down the street. Mensch was dragged, and her friend rushed to call 911.
“I just hope that they find him and they find him soon, so that he doesn’t go out and kill somebody else,” Zugerman said.
Police said the driver stopped, but jumped back into his van then sped off. Investigators released surveillance pictures of the suspect’s vehicle, a black 2007 GMC Savana. The van has an Illinois license plate bearing the White Sox logo with the number 11285.