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Man trapped underneath car for blocks in fatal East Chatham hit-and-run

A man was killed Tuesday when he was struck by a vehicle and dragged underneath for about seven blocks in the East Chatham neighborhood.

At 3:10 a.m., 55-year-old Robert James was walking in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove when a sedan heading north on the street struck him, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. The driver of the sedan, possibly a gray Hyundai Elantra, continued east on 79th Street with James trapped underneath until 79th Street and Dobson, police said.

James was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

An autopsy Wednesday did not rule on the cause and manner of his death pending further investigation, according to the medical examiner’s office. His home address was unknown.

The Chicago Police Department’s Major Accidents Unit and Area South detectives were investigating.

7900 block of South Cottage Grove | Photo by Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

79th and Dobson, where the body was dragged over six blocks. | Photo by Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

Police investigate the scene of a fatal hit-and-run, Tuesday morning in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove. The victim was stuck on 79th and Cottage Grove and his body was dragged to 79th and Dobson. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Police investigate the scene of a fatal hit-and-run, Tuesday morning in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove. The victim was stuck on 79th and Cottage Grove and his body was dragged to 79th and Dobson. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Police investigate the scene of a fatal hit-and-run, Tuesday morning in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove. The victim was stuck on 79th and Cottage Grove and his body was dragged to 79th and Dobson. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Police investigate the scene of a fatal hit-and-run, Tuesday morning in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove. The victim was stuck on 79th and Cottage Grove and his body was dragged to 79th and Dobson. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tyler LaRiviere contributed reporting.