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Boy, 9, fatally struck by off-duty officer while biking on crosswalk in West Rogers Park: FOP

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By Michelle Gallardo, Liz Nagy

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    CHICAGO, Illinois (WLS) — A 9-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding his bicycle Wednesday night in West Rogers Park on the North Side, according to police. He was riding less than a block from his family’s home.

An off-duty Chicago police officer was allegedly driving the truck that struck the young boy, according to the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

About 8 p.m., a 48-year-old man was driving a Toyota in the 7300-block of North Sacramento Avenue when he struck the boy, later identified as Hershell Weinberger of Chicago, riding his bicycle in the crosswalk, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner said.

Weinberger was rushed to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, but did not survive. His mangled bike came to rest underneath the truck, where it remained for hours as police tried to determine exactly what happened.

“I know the little boy and he’s very playful and he was probably having a fantastic time,” said Arden Goldstein. “It’s very hard.”

That driver is a 22-year veteran of CPD. The FOP president said the off-duty officer stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways. He also took a breath test, passing with “triple zeros.”

“This morning I was just standing there and watching, and I called out people. ‘Stop. A little boy got killed here last night. Why aren’t you stopping,'” said Katherine Romb.

The neighborhood is full of children. Many of the families are observant Jews and frequently walk the blocks.

Weinberger is not only a twin, but also one of four brothers.

“He was just doing the thing kids do,” said Rabbi Baruch Hertz with Congregation B’nei Ruven. ‘[He was] enjoying the nice summer day, spending the time with the family. His parents were outside. It’s shocking.”

For the members of the close-knit Hasidic community, the loss is one that is being felt by many.

“They’re nicest people. Always a welcoming home. Always trying to do good deeds and acts of kindness and goodness,” Rabbi Hertz said. “The best consoling for them will be will just add something good, something kind, something special, that will mean a lot to them, to make the world a better place.”

Per Hasidic tradition, which dictates that burial should take place within 24 hours of death, Hershel was laid to rest Thursday afternoon.

The CPD’s Major Accidents Unit is investigating the incident. The driver has been cited for not exercising due care, officials said.

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