Police Search For Hit-And-Run Driver That Killed Beloved Writer and Activist From Chicago's South Side

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Police are searching for suspects in a hit-and-run crash that killed a beloved writer and activist from Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago police reported that the crash happened on July 11 near the intersection of 49th and Drexel in the Kenwood neighborhood.

The victim has been identified as 62-year-old Hannah Hayes.

“I miss her,” said her husband, Jesse Sinaiko. “She was my companion, she was my lover, she was my best friend.”

Sinaiko said his world is now shattered after losing the love of his life, saying that he and his wife had been together for nearly 30 years.

“The memories that we had are a lifetime,” he said. “They won’t go away, but it’s very tough right now, it’s very tough.”

A memorial now marks the spot where his wife was tragically killed. Hayes was heading home when she was struck.

“I looked at my watch, it was 11 and I said 'it’s a little late you know,'” he said. “I texted her and it’s going to haunt me forever, I said, “Are you okay?’ Two minutes later the doorbell ring and it was a cop.”

Hayes was just a block away from home when police said the driver of a stolen silver-colored 2012 Lexus blew through a stop sign and t-boned her vehicle. The suspects ran on foot from the scene.

Chicago police released surveillance pictures of at least two suspects wanted in connection for the deadly crash.

“They were just driving around acting like idiots,” he said. “As a result of that, they ended a life and devastated two others.”

Hayes husband told NBC 5 she was inspired to change the world through her work as a writer and activist fighting for education and immigration reform.

“She was not afraid to go waist deep in the muck to get something done. She was a worker bee too. Most dynamic person I’ve ever known,” he said. “She didn’t care about recognition. She didn’t care about accolades. None of that mattered to her—keep your eye on the prize was one of her big phrases.” 

Hayes’ work was deeply rooted in Chicago. Her articles were routinely featured in major publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times. She had also worked as an activist, including a stint on the political campaign for former Mayor Harold Washington. More recently, she was committed to helping kids as part of the local school council at Reavis Elementary.

“She had the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever known,” her husband said. “She was a tremendous mom. She really loved children.”

Sinaiko said his wife’s death is a tremendous loss for the community—a void that can never be replaced. His focus now is seeking justice for those responsible for her death.

Hayes' family is planning a memorial service for her at a park at Reavis Elementary on August 6th at 2pm.

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