The streetlights on a stretch of South Side road where an unmarked police car struck and killed a man early Wednesday had not been working for more than a week, according to several people who frequent the area.
Kevin D. Garrett, 60, was hit by the unmarked squad car, which was eastbound in the 2800 block of East 79th Street about 1:15 a.m., police said.
Garrett, of the 1000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the medical examiner’s office. An autopsy found he died of multiple injuries, and his death was ruled an accident.
A police source said the man was walking in the street and wearing all black.
Robert Parker, 73, a member of a church on the 2800 block of East 79th, told the Chicago Sun-Times he noticed the lights weren’t working Tuesday night, just hours before the fatal accident.
Parker, who is retired, said his wife called 311 last week to report the lights were not working for about a three-block stretch of 79th.
“They told her they’d make sure to make a report and file it,” he said.
City records show an open complaint was filed Jan. 29.
A CTA bus driver who stopped to pick up passengers Wednesday morning near where the accident occurred said the street had been dark for about two weeks. “We have to put on their high-beams coming through here,” she said.
Jacques Eugene, who owns an auto shop next to the site of the accident, said detectives had visited Wednesday morning to gather security camera footage, hoping to see exactly how the event unfolded.
Eugene said detectives told him the man who was killed was apparently hauling several shopping carts down the street when he was struck.
Eugene said gas and electric company trucks were recently in the area doing work and he wondered if they had turned off the lights.
The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation did not immediately return calls regarding the street lights. And ComEd and Peoples Gas were checking on whether work in the neighborhood might have affected the street lights.