CHICAGO - A Southwest Side family is pleading for the hit-and-run driver who killed their mother to come forward.
On Friday, Chicago police continued to search for the suspect who ran a red light, striking and killing 68-year-old Jiekun Xu – who was in the crosswalk.
The incident happened at approximately 4:51 p.m. Thursday in the 4300 block of South Pulaski Road in the city’s Archer Heights neighborhood.
"I hope and I pray that people who see that can offer important information to the police," said Lihua Zhang, Xu’s daughter.
For Xu, walking to Pete's Fresh Market at 44th Street and Pulaski Road was something she enjoyed and did often, according to her daughter.
But on Thursday, Xu didn't make it home.
Zhang tells FOX 32 Chicago that at the time of the hit-and-run, her mother was with a good friend who had joined her to go grocery shopping. She says the women had a walk signal.
"My mom stepped, just stepped out one, two – just two steps, not more than three – and then suddenly a vehicle running the red light at a very high speed hit my mom," said Zhang.
The suspect fled before officers arrived.
Pictured is the suspect's vehicle in the hit-and-run crash. (Chicago PD )
Police say the vehicle involved is a white pickup truck, and possibly a Ford F150 or a RAM 1500. It was last seen traveling northbound on Pulaski Road – the same direction it was heading at the time of the incident.
"She was a very warm-hearted person, you can ask the neighborhood, almost everybody knows her," said Zhang.
Originally from China, Xu moved to America five years ago and fell in love with Chicago and its lakefront. It's where her daughter says she planned to spend the rest of her life.
Zhang says her mother also loved to cook and exercise, and frequently took walks in the neighborhood.
Xu leaves behind two children, including Zhang, and two grandchildren.
Now, Zhang says her family is left shattered and doesn’t know how to move forward.
"When I think about my mom, I just want to leave. I cannot cross the street, I cannot walk into the supermarket anymore," said Zhang.
Zhang is asking for the person responsible to turn themselves in.
She is also urging local officials to implement changes at the intersection where her mother was killed, saying she has seen many drivers run red lights there before.
"It’s killing. It’s not just about the traffic, it’s killing," said Zhang.
Alderwoman Jeylú Gutiérrez (14th Ward) issued the following statement on Friday evening in response to the tragedy:
"I extend my deepest condolences to the Xu family regarding the tragic death of their loved one yesterday during the hit-and-run incident on Pulaski Road. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this incredibly difficult time.
"I have maintained ongoing communication with concerned constituents and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) regarding the necessity for improved safety measures. It is disheartening to learn from CDOT data spanning 2018 to 2022 that there have been approximately 23 serious injury crashes and 2 fatal crashes on Pulaski Road between 42nd and 47th Streets. These statistics underscore the gravity of the situation, indicating an immediate need for action.
"I have consistently conveyed constituents’ concerns to CDOT and actively participated in discussions to address the pressing need for additional safety measures.
"This incident underscores the urgent need for increased safety measures on this stretch of Pulaski Road. I am acutely aware of the persistent issues in this area, such as speeding, hit-and-run accidents, and drifting, which I have personally witnessed. Consequently, I intend to convene a meeting with the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and community members, to allow them to hear from community members about how these issues continue to endanger their well-being.
"I urge anyone with information about the incident yesterday to please contact the Chicago Police Department."
Anyone with information about the incident, the suspect, or the vehicle involved is urged to contact CPD's Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521.