Man fatally stabbed in River North road rage attack was devoted father, car detailer, ‘all-around guy,’ mother recalls
Jeremy Walker, a 36-year-old father, declined help from witnesses after he was stabbed, according to a police report. He died at a hospital shortly after the attack.
Jeremy Walker often went to watch his 12-year-old son play organized basketball.
On Saturday, Walker’s son will play his next game, just days after Walker was fatally stabbed at a busy River North intersection.
“His son asked what’s going to happen now that his dad won’t be at his game Saturday,” Daphne Terrell, Walker’s mother, told the Chicago Sun-Times. She told him: “Let’s play this ball for your dad and show him that you’re going to be the best that you can.”
Walker, 36, was stabbed in the neck during a road rage attack about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the first block of West Ohio Street, Chicago police said. An apparent traffic dispute escalated after Walker and another driver got out of their cars, witnesses said.
Walker declined help from those witnesses and drove five blocks to North Michigan Avenue, where he stopped near a patrol car and an ambulance was called, according to a police report. Walker died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, authorities said.
Terrell described Walker as an “all-around guy” who was once a barber and a high school football player with a passion for detailing cars. “He detailed cars like a professional... People loved the way he washed cars,” she said.
Walker’s mother said he’d manage the clock during his son’s basketball games when no one else was available to do so.
She added that she told Walker’s son he would be watching him play Saturday. “[I told him] ‘He’s going to be looking down on you and making sure that you remember everything that he was screaming at you on the sidelines,’” she said.
No one was in custody for the attack as of Wednesday night.
“It was really messed up,” said a witness who watched it unfold while sitting in his car with his brother at the intersection of Dearborn and Ohio streets.
The witness, who did not want to be identified, said he was stopped at a red light when he saw the victim step out of his blue Kia at the intersection and ask the driver of a black car behind him, “Why are you honking at me?”
He saw three men get out of the black car, and the two drivers began punching each other, the witness said.
The Kia driver was the larger of the two and pinned the other driver to the ground, the witness said. That’s when the man on the ground pulled out a knife and the other man backed off, he said.
“He [Walker] tried to control the knife with one arm, and when the knife slipped it went into his neck. Everyone was in shock,” the witness said.
The driver of the black car sped north on Dearborn as the witness said he rushed to the victim’s car to help. “I’m by the guy, trying to talk to him to keep him up,” he said. “Blood was pouring out.”
The witness told his younger brother to go back to their car to grab a towel. But his brother struggled to open the trunk, and the witness ran back himself. When he returned, the victim had driven away, he said.
“He was blurring out. When he drove out, he was swerving. I wanted to chase him to help” but lost sight of him in traffic, the man said. He followed a passing firetruck and found the victim’s car on Michigan Avenue surrounded by police.
The witness’ younger brother said the attack was a wake-up call for him to be more cautious about road rage.
“I learned my lesson from watching this,” said the man, who asked not to be named.
“Sometimes people get road rage for me. I’ve got to take a step back and watch what I do. That could be me,” he said. “At night, when I found out he passed away, I started crying.”
Walker’s Kia was left parked halfway between the left lane and the median. Drivers slowed to a crawl as they passed the car surrounded by police tape.
The stabbing occurred in the 18th police district, where murders are up 100% from last year, from 4 to at least 8. Cases of aggravated battery are up 18%, from 106 to 125 attacks.
“This should never have happened,” Terrell said. “To pull a knife on somebody and stab him in the neck several times and hit their artery is outrageous.”
Contributing: Emmanuel Camarillo