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.
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.