The last 48 hours were a nightmare for Itzel Dirzo.
On Sunday evening, her only son, 13-year-old Isaac Martinez, was riding his bike — his first bike — when he was fatally struck by a vehicle in the 8300 block of South Lawndale in the Ashburn neighborhood.
Two days later, dozens of family members, friends and members of Chicago’s cycling community gathered Tuesday night near where Isaac was killed to mourn his death and call for greater protections for the city’s cyclists.
“I want justice for my son. He didn’t deserve to die like that,” Dirzo said through tears, adding that her son was “a very good kid” who just wanted to ride his bike, play basketball and hang out with his cousins.
Moments later, a reporter told Dirzo that charges had been approved against the driver who allegedly killed her son.
“Thank you, God. Thank you,” she said. “Now I’m in peace.”
Oscar Martinez Guerrero, 40, was charged with felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death and failure to report an accident that resulted in injury or death, according to the Chicago Police Department.
He also faces misdemeanor counts of failing to give information and/or render aid after a collision and operating an uninsured vehicle, according to the CPD. Guerrero also was cited for failure to reduce speed, not yielding to a pedestrian in the roadway and failing to give notice of an accident.
His bond hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Isaac was struck around 6:50 p.m. Sunday, and police located and arrested Guerrero, who they said was driving a work van, a few blocks away in the 3600 block of West 85th Place.
Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) credited a neighbor who realized the license plate had fallen off during the collision and reported it to police.
About 20 cyclists rode to 83rd and Lawndale from the West Loop to lend support to Isaac’s family.
“Isaac was following the laws. He was required to be biking in the street,” said Christina Whitehouse of Bike Lane Uprising. “As one community of cyclists, we felt it was very important to come out and be here with the family, with the community. We are one community of cyclists, and it could have been any one of us.”
Curtis said he was in touch with the city’s Department of Transportation earlier in the day. While the stretch of Lawndale where Isaac was killed is a designated bike route, Curtis said, there are no protected bike lanes and local drivers often flaunt traffic signs and signals. He suggested adding extra signage and possibly more traffic controls to the area to force drivers to slow down.