A pick-up truck driven by an off-duty Chicago police officer struck and killed a 9-year-old boy riding a bicycle Wednesday evening in West Rogers Park.
The officer said he didn’t see Hershel Weinberger before hitting him around 8 p.m. on a sidewalk in the 7300 Block of North Sacramento, according to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara Jr.
Hershel, who lived nearby, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston where he died, according to Chicago police. The family told police he was heading home after playing at a friend’s house.
The officer, 48, took a Breathalyzer test that was negative, Catanzara said.
“It’s just a tragedy. And any person could be in his shoes. This just happens to be a Chicago police officer,” Catanzara told the Sun-Times. “Our hearts go out to the family. This officer is certainly never going to forget that. It’s sad all-around.”
Police said no citations or charges have been filed.
Baruch Hertz, a rabbi at Congregation B’nei Ruven, said Hershel “was a loved kid. He was a very nice boy, had a smile on his face at all times … It’s a huge shock for the community.”
Ruth Lee, a close friend of the Weinberger family, said the boy had a “sweet energy.”
“He was bright…kind looking, he had very vibrant blue eyes,” Lee, who taught Hershel in various subjects from music to religion, told the Sun-Times.
Rabbi Hertz described the Weinberger family as “very charitable people who always have guests in their home.