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Off-duty officer issued citation after fatally striking 9-year-old boy riding bike in West Rogers Park

The 48-year-old officer struck Hershel Weinberger in a crosswalk in West Rogers Park.

Hershel Weinberger, 9, died after he was hit in a crosswalk in the 7300 block of North Sacramento Avenue on July 14, 2021. Provided

An off-duty Chicago Police officer who struck and killed a 9-year-old boy on a bicycle in West Rogers Park has been issued a citation.

The officer, 48, was cited for failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the road, police said, adding that the investigation continued.

The officer was driving a pickup truck Wednesday evening when he struck Hershel Weinberger in a crosswalk in the 7300 block of North Sacramento Avenue, according to police.

The officer said he stopped at Chase and Sacramento and looked right, left and right again before proceeding, according to a traffic report.

Hershel, who lived nearby, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston where he died.

After the crash, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) wrote a letter to constituents urging them to practice safe driving.

“I have no words to express my deep sympathy for his family, and I cannot even comprehend the sorrow his loved ones are going through as our community struggles with this horrific tragedy,” Silverstein wrote.

“We must all take this as a stark reminder to always drive safely—especially on residential streets,” she said. “Drive slowly and always come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic lights. Be extra cautious around schools, parks, and places of worship.”

The officer said he didn’t see Hershel, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara Jr. told the Sun-Times Thursday. The officer took a Breathalyzer test that was negative, according to Catanzara.

The family told police Hershel was heading home after playing at a friend’s house. The boy’s father rushed to the scene and held him until paramedics arrived, a family friend said.

Hershel was a twin and had two other brothers. Baruch Hertz, a rabbi at Congregation B’nei Ruven, said Hershel “was a loved kid. He was a very nice boy, had a smile on his face at all times … It’s a huge shock for the community.”

Ruth Lee, a close friend of the Weinberger family, said the boy had a “sweet energy.”

“He was bright…kind looking, he had very vibrant blue eyes,” Lee, who taught Hershel in various subjects from music to religion, told the Sun-Times.

The off-duty officer was scheduled to appear in traffic court Aug. 5.