Daughters plead for public’s help solving fatal Little Village hit-and-run: ‘It’s been so lonely without her’

Juana Tapia Lopez, 56, was struck about 8:20 p.m. on Nov. 20 in the 2500 block of South Drake Avenue, according to police. She died Thursday.

SHARE Daughters plead for public’s help solving fatal Little Village hit-and-run: ‘It’s been so lonely without her’
Carol Cisneros, one of the daughters of Juana Tapia Lopez, holds a photo of her mother during a press conference at West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood.

Carol Cisneros, one of the daughters of Juana Tapia Lopez, holds a photo of her mother during a press conference Friday at West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

For the past few weeks, Daisy and Monse Soto had been hopeful that their mom, Juana Tapia Lopez, would get out of the hospital to wake them up in the morning again.

The sound of her making coffee, pancakes and putting on cumbia music served as their 6 a.m. alarm clock until Lopez, 56, was struck last month in a hit-and-run accident.

After three weeks, she died Thursday.

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“It’s been so lonely without her,” said Daisy, 20.

The two lived at home with their mom in Little Village with their older brother and his 9-year-old daughter, whom she helped care for. “My mom raised her,” said Monse, 17.

Lopez, a mother of five and grandmother of 10, was hit about 8:20 p.m. Nov. 20 in the 2500 block of South Drake, according to Chicago police. A red pickup truck hit her while turning right from 26th Street, according to the accident report.

The truck stopped in the middle of the street, someone jumped back in and the truck sped off, the report states.

Daisy Soto and her sister Monse Soto, daughters of Juana Tapia Lopez, lock arms after a press conference at West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, where family and community members called on the Chicago Police Department to conduct an investigation into the hit and run that killed Lopez.

Daisy Soto and her sister Monse Soto, daughters of Juana Tapia Lopez, lock arms after a press conference in the Little Village neighborhood on Friday, where family and community members called on the Chicago Police Department to conduct an investigation into the hit-and-run that killed Lopez.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“It would’ve made a big difference if he had just stopped and helped,” Carol Cisneros said Friday at a news conference near the scene of the crash. “Now my sisters won’t have their mom.”

Cisneros, 30, spoke alongside other members of the community who called on police to bolster their investigation and create an entire department to focus on hit-and-run collisions.

“These cases receive no investigation, no attention and no resources,” said Baltazar Enrique, a Lower West Side community organizer who said he knew Lopez through the Little Village Community Council. 

A Chicago Police Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police have previously said they were unable to find any video of the incident, but a week after the collision, investigators released a picture of the Ford F-150 thought to have struck Lopez. It had tinted windows and damage to the front driver’s side fender.

Chicago police say this red Ford pickup took off after fatally striking a woman in Little Village Nov. 20.

Chicago police say this red Ford pickup took off after fatally striking Juana Tapia Lopez in Little Village on Nov. 20.

Chicago police

Enrique called Lopez “one of those people that’s always ready to help out and lend a hand.”

Maria Trujillo, a Little Village resident, came out to support the family. “We need to show solidarity with the pain they’re feeling,” she said, gesturing to Lopez’s daughters.

A photo of Juana Tapia Lopez during a rainy press conference at West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood, calling for help solving that hit-and-run that left her dead.

A photo of hit-and-run victim Juana Tapia Lopez, displayed during a rainy press conference at West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue on Friday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Trujillo, whose son was shot to death last year in Little Village, belongs to a group of mothers from the neighborhood who have lost family members to violence and have been calling on CPD to keep pressing on their cases.

Also on hand at Friday’s conference was Jocelyn Estrada, a friend of Monse’s from the Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy in Pilsen, who knew Lopez from spending afternoons with the family after school. “She was always so happy,” said Estrada, 17.

The girls appreciated the jokes that Lopez, a Spanish-speaker, would try to make in English for Estrada’s benefit.

“She would make everybody laugh,” Daisy said. “She had the biggest personality.”

Police have asked anyone with information on the crash to call detectives at 312-745-4521.

Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.

Carol Cisneros, 30, Daisy Soto, 20, and Monse Soto, 17, stand near the intersection of West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in Little Village where their mother, Juana Tapia Lopez, was struck in a hit and run that killed her. Cisneros holds a photo of Lopez.

Carol Cisneros, Daisy Soto and Monse Soto stand near the intersection of West 26th Street and South Drake Avenue in Little Village where their mother, Juana Tapia Lopez, was struck in a fatal hit-and-run last month. Cisneros holds a photo of Lopez.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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