As Chicago police seek to crack down on illegal street racing, a 40-year-old woman was killed near Midway Airport by a vehicle that spun out of control on Cicero Avenue over the weekend.
Police say Shawman Mereis was visiting Chicago with her boyfriend and was on his way to dinner in the 6400 block of South Cicero around 1:30 a.m. Sunday when two Corvettes rushed towards the couple.
Police say one of the Corvettes slammed into another vehicle and then drove toward Meireis, who was in a crosswalk at the time of the crash.
Meireis was taken to an area hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries.
Andrew Preissing, a friend of Shawman, said she was visiting the city from Florida.
“She was a pillar of light for us,” he said. “People are so oblivious to the dangers of reckless driving.”
Police have not finally ruled that the two cars were engaged in an illegal street race, with the superintendent. David Brown said the investigation is continuing, but eyewitnesses told the Chicago Sun-Times that the cars revved their engines at a streetlight just before the crash and passed each other as they accelerated on Cicero Ave.
“If people had followed the laws and obeyed the rules, she would still be here. She would be celebrating her birthday today,” Preissing said.
According to friends and family, Monday would have been the 41st of Meireisst birthday.
His death comes as authorities in Chicago seek to crack down on illegal street racing. Takeovers at various intersections were reported by police over the weekend, with onlookers clashing with officers and damaging vehicles in several heated clashes.
Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the department will “use technology” to find the vehicle that caused the crash that claimed Meireis’ life.
Last month, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that will fine illegal street racers up to $10,000 and could result in fines for vehicle owners, even if they are not driving the car.
Police have also set up a caravan task force, working to track social media posts and using large trucks to block streets and intersections.