A man killed when he was struck by a 2013 Kia driven by a 69-year-old Orland Park man in the 2900 block of Harlem Avenue in Riverside at about 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning appears to have deliberately walked in front of the oncoming vehicle, according to police.
Police identified the victim as William A. Lynch, 76. According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, Lynch essentially was homeless, though he’d been staying recently at a residence in the 6700 block of Stanley Avenue in Berwyn.
A state ID reportedly listed Lynch’s address as 205 S. Kensington Ave. in LaGrange, which is Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The BEDS Plus homeless support center is headquartered at the church and operates an emergency homeless shelter there once a week from Oct. 1 to May 15.
Tina Rounds, executive director of BEDS Plus, said Lynch was a longtime agency client and that about a year ago the agency had placed him at a nursing home in Oak Park.
Weitzel said the driver of the Kia, who was making deliveries as part of a nighttime job, told police he saw Lynch walking on the sidewalk and then “lunge” in front of his vehicle.
Police also interviewed two other witnesses, who were traveling northbound on Harlem Avenue in separate vehicles. Those witnesses reportedly corroborated the Kia driver’s story.
The Orland Park man stayed at the scene until police arrived and submitted to a blood draw, although Weitzel said the driver of the Kia did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol. Weitzel said it did not appear that excessive speed was involved.
Riverside police contacted the Illinois State Police crash reconstruction team to investigate the incident. Police did not ticket the driver of the Kia, though Weitzel said his department would not close out the case until results of the driver’s blood test come back.
In April, a Riverside police officer on patrol made contact with Lynch. According to Weitzel, Lynch was walking in the grass parkway between the sidewalk and Harlem Avenue near Robinson Court.
The officer stopped to talk to Lynch at that time because he reportedly wanted to make sure he was OK. Lynch reportedly told the officer he was just on a nighttime walk, and the officer sent him on his way.