City to pay $4 million to family of girl hit and killed by tractor owned by city contractor

The fatal accident took place in May 2016 while Samyra Lee was crossing the street with her mother on their way to Providence Englewood Charter School, 6515 S. Ashland Ave.

SHARE City to pay $4 million to family of girl hit and killed by tractor owned by city contractor
Balloons adorn fence outside Providence Englewood Charter School in May 2016 after Samyra Lee was struck and killed while trying to cross Ashland Avenue near the school.

Balloons adorn the fence outside Providence Englewood Charter School in May 2016 after Samyra Lee was struck and killed at the intersection while trying to cross Ashland Avenue near the school.

Andy Grim/Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago taxpayers will spend $4 million to compensate the family of a 7-year-old Englewood girl killed in 2016 by a tractor being driven by a man who worked for a city contractor.

The fatal accident occurred shortly before 8 a.m. on that May day while Samyra Lee was crossing the street with her mother on their way to Providence Englewood Charter School, 6515 S. Ashland Ave.

Apparently arriving late for the start of school, the first-grader was holding hands with her mother while attempting to cross busy Ashland Avenue and were waiting in the middle of the intersection.

That’s when they were hit by the tractor heading south on Ashland Avenue.

Julicia Lee, the girl’s mother, suffered a hip injury but refused treatment so she could rush to Comer Children’s Hospital where her daughter was taken before being pronounced dead.

Police initially said the tractor was leased by the city.

But City Hall subsequently claimed that the tractor was owned by a private contractor hired by the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation.

The lawsuit filed by the Lee family names Truck Tire Sales as a defendant along with the city.

A grandmother who witnessed the horrific aftermath of the crash told the Chicago Sun-Times that parents of students at Providence Englewood Charter had complained about the duration of the light at the intersection.

Parents had also complained about the absence of a crossing guard to escort their young children across five lanes of traffic on Ashland Avenue in front of the school.

The tractor driver was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The $4 million settlement is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Aldermen will also be asked to approve a $650,000 settlement stemming from allegations of police misconduct. Details of that settlement are not known.

At the time of the accident, Samyra was looking forward to a celebration dinner at Red Lobster and a trip to Great America.

She had won free tickets to the Gurnee amusement park after greatly improving her reading scores.

The dinner was supposed to be a family celebration of her achievement.

The Latest
Jamari Robinson was arrested 13 hours after he allegedly killed Rashaun Johnson early Sunday in the entryway of the complex in the 7800 block of South Laflin Street.
Mayoral allies and critics alike again condemned the crackdown as a desperate response that will have no impact on an outbreak of youth violence downtown — but signed off on it anyway.
The board voted 3-2 Wednesday to increase CPS’ obligation to the underfunded pensions to more than triple what it paid in 2020. Before that, the city covered the full cost.
Arroyo entered a blind plea of guilty in November to a wire fraud count that said he was paid bribes in exchange for promoting legislation in Springfield.
Joseph Kromelis, 75 — a homeless man well-known for walking the streets of the Loop — suffered third-degree burns over 65% of his body.