Woman dragged half a block dies in Near North Side hit-and-run; alderman blames looters

Officers nearby tried to stop the driver, but he sped off, officials said.

SHARE Woman dragged half a block dies in Near North Side hit-and-run; alderman blames looters
Six people were shot, two fatally, Jan. 21, 2021 in Chicago.

A woman was fatally hit by an SUV August 10, 2020, on the Near North Side.

Sun-Times file photo

A 55-year-old Arizona woman died after she was struck and dragged a half block by a hit-and-run driver Monday night on the Near North Side, and the local alderman has tied the incident to continued looting in the area.

She was one of two women about to cross the street in the first block of East Hubbard Street when a male driving a silver-colored Ford Explorer SUV hit her and another woman, Chicago police said.

Zoraleigh Ryan, of Chandler, Arizona, was dragged about half a block at 10:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead on the scene, police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. The second woman, 20, was treated for minor abrasions and released from a hospitalized, police said.

Officers nearby tried to stop the driver, but he sped off, police said.

Chicago Police Department spokesman Luis Agostini, in a text message to the Sun-Times, said a man had surrendered to police in the case, and charges were pending, but they have not been able to tie the incident to the massive looting touched off by a police shooting in Englewood on Sunday.

But Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) did. On Tuesday, he blamed the accident on the looting that destroyed huge swaths of downtown Chicago, River North and Lincoln Park.

“We have reason to believe that this vehicle was involved in looting. Detectives have not made that determination yet. But, there’s some witness statements that suggest it. We know that the looters drive extremely fast and recklessly. That was what this vehicle was doing. It struck this woman at a high speed on Hubbard Street, dragged her for a block and didn’t stop,” he said.

Hopkins was asked what makes him so certain the vehicle was involved in looting when detectives are still investigating the potential link.

“Because of the non-stop reckless driving that was associated with the looting activities Sunday night. Cars flying in all directions. Going the wrong-way down one-way streets. Flying against red-lights. For hours, I watched that happen,” the alderman said.

“The looters have no regard for the safety of others. And the driver of this vehicle was driving in a manner consistent with that. … I believe that, because this vehicle was driving in such a reckless manner downtown, that it was connected to the looting incidents.”

With access to the Loop cut off overnight to all but residents and employees, Hopkins said Monday night and Tuesday morning were more tranquil. But, there was sporadic looting, nevertheless, he said.

“Some of the stores that had already been hit and had not secured their points of entry had merchandise stolen — to the extent that there was anything left to steal,” Hopkins said.

“It was significantly less than we saw Sunday night. But there were still some scattered reports in the 18th District — downtown and River North.”

Contributing: Carly Behm, Jermaine Nolen

The Latest
“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.
Smith sees no way forward with GM Ryan Poles, though he left open the possibility of the McCaskey family stepping in to broker a solution.
The boy was attacked in the 9700 block of South Ewing Avenue Monday night.
A 17-year-old boy was shot in the chest, and an 18-year-old boy was grazed in the eye and shot in the leg.
The man, 38, saw the thieves inside his car in the 4600 block of South Lake Park about 12:15 a.m. and approached them, police said.