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Family of woman killed in downtown hit-and-run sues alleged driver

Shannon Ryan appeared at a press conference announcing the lawsuit. Ryan, 20, was walking downtown with her mother, Zoraleigh Ryan, on Aug. 10, when a man in a SUV plowed into them.

Shannon Ryan recounts her mothers personality and reflects on the incident during a press conference, to announce a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Shannon Ryan recounts her mothers personality and reflects on the incident during a press conference, to announce a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The tap of her metal cane echoed in the marble hallway, and her voice faltered at times — lingering reminders of the “horrific” crime she endured less than three weeks ago.

Shannon Ryan, 20, is the lucky one. She was walking downtown with her mother, Zoraleigh Ryan, on Aug. 10, when a man in a SUV plowed into them, knocking the mother to the ground. The driver circled the block and hit the mother again, dragging her half a block under his vehicle, Cook County prosecutors say.

Shannon Ryan recounts her mothers personality and reflects on the incident during a press conference, to announce a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Shannon Ryan recounts her mothers personality and reflects on the incident during a press conference, to announce a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

On Wednesday, attorneys for the Ryan family announced the filing of a wrongful death suit in Cook County Circuit Court against the driver, Edgar Roman, an Albany Park man.

“What happened on Aug. 10 is horrific. Whether it is reckless conduct by this man or intentional conduct by this man, we are going to hold the hands of (the victim’s widower) and Shannon and their entire family,” said attorney Tim Cavanagh.

Michael Ryan, left, and Shannon Ryan, right, leave the press conference after announcing a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Michael Ryan, left, and Shannon Ryan, right, leave the press conference after announcing a lawsuit after a hit and run left Zoraleigh Ryan, 55, dead, at 161 N Clark St in the Loop, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Shannon and her mother, 55, were in the city from their home in Arizona to visit one of Shannon’s two sisters, who was having a baby shower.

According to prosecutors, who have charged Roman with murder and attempted murder, the driver barreled into the mother and daughter while they were in the crosswalk at Hubbard and State streets. Roman stopped, got out of his vehicle and approached the mother and daughter, prosecutors say. When a witness tried to take his picture, Roman got allegedly back in the SUV and drove away.

He returned less than a minute later and ran over the mother, who was lying hurt but conscious near the curb, prosecutors say. The witness managed to grab the daughter and pull her out of the way. She suffered a broken wrist and abrasions.

On Wednesday, standing beside her father, Michael Ryan, Shannon Ryan described her mother as her “best friend.

“I’m really thankful I got to spend 20 years of my life with her,” she said.