Hit And Run At Orland Square Mall Leaves 1 Teacher Dead, Another Seriously Injured

Chicago News

By Steven Graves, Eric Cox

CHICAGO (CBS)– Police are still looking for the driver of a car that fatally struck one teacher and injured another after they left a Christmas party Wednesday night near Orland Square Mall.

The chief of Orland Park police say officers responded to the scene, just after 8 p.m. after a witness called 911.

A spokesperson from St. Michael School in Orland Park confirmed the victims are two teachers at the school who were leaving the Parish Christmas party at the time of the incident.

In an email sent to the school community, officials identified the victims as third-grade teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Kosteck and 61-year-old Ms. Rone (Margaret) Leja. School officials confirmed Ms. Leja, who taught technology, died during the incident.

Officials said Kosteck was released from the hospital.

Orland Park Police chief Tim McCarthy said officers are pulling video from dozens of cameras to track down the driver behind this deadly hit-and-run incident.

The police chief said they are looking for a light-colored vehicle.

School officials said “faculty and parish priests are currently at Silver Cross hospital gathered in prayer for our colleagues.” St. Michael School had a late start on Thursday.

“Our faculty is grieving the loss of their dear friend and colleague and will be gathering privately before school opens,” school officials said in an email to the community.

“Everybody was very emotional today after the Mass,” said Emmett McCarthy, who is a student at the school. “It was very hard for everybody. Escpeciallly the fellow teachers there.”

Megan Erzinger was Leja’s former student and she recalled when her former teacher was there after her grandmother passed.

“She gave me her phone number and her email and said I understand it’s hard losing a loved one,” Erzinger said. “And if you ever need me, I’m always here. And ever since then…her and I had a personal relationship outside of school.”

 

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