Chicago driver who fatally struck 9-year-old boy was off-duty cop, says police order

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CHICAGO — The driver of a pickup truck who fatally struck a 9-year-old boy in a Chicago neighborhood was an off-duty police officer, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.

Union President John Catanzara said the officer, 48, did not see the boy before he was hit by the Toyota Tundra in the West Ridge neighborhood around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said the boy, identified as Hershel Weinberger, was riding on the sidewalk when he was hit. It appears the vehicle dragged the bike before it came to a stop. Neighbors rushed to help the boy.

Hershel’s parents were outside and heard the crash. His father rushed over and held him.

“At that point, he knew his son wasn’t going to make it,” a friend said. “He told me that the connection he felt at that moment with him and his son was just very, very spiritual.”

He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Catanzara said the officer took a breathalyzer, which is standard procedure, and it came back negative for any trace of alcohol. Catanzara said the officer is “traumatized by this tragic incident.”

Chicago police have not commented. The crash is under investigation. No charges have been filed.

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