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Community Mourns, Calls For Safety Improvements After 9-Year-Old Hershel Weinberger Was Hit, Killed While Riding Bike In West Rogers Park

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The close-knit West Rogers Park community on Thursday remembered a 9-year-old boy who was killed while riding his bike the night before.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, Hershel Weinberger was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Sacramento and Chase avenues at 8 p.m. Wednesday, just steps away from his home. It appeared to be a tremendously traumatic accident, and family and friends said change is needed at the intersection.

Ruth Wait works at the school Hershel attended and is a family friend.

"He was coming home from a friend's house, and the truck came," Wait said.

Hershel was riding east on the north sidewalk along Chase Avenue when the accident happened. As he crossed Sacramento Avenue, the Toyota pickup truck – driven by a 48-year-old man and headed north – struck him as he entered the crosswalk.

The driver of the pickup truck stayed on scene and cooperated with police. Meanwhile, Hershel was taken to AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died.

"Very energetic, sweet, big smile, a really bright friendly face," Wait said. "It's like gut-wrenching. The whole thing is gut-wrenching."

"I have seen him riding his bike, yeah. I've seen the family outside," said Katherine Romb, who is neighbors with Hershel's family. "It's a tragedy, it really is. This is a heavily-traveled street, and unfortunately, a lot of cars don't stop at the stop sign."

"You can just see it," Wait added. "I mean, you can just stand here, and yeah, it happens all the time."

Wait said she sees cars speeding.

"Speeding, going through stops signs," she said.

While this close West Rogers Park community began to mourn and comfort Hershel's family, there is hope that this accident will lead to change.

"I feel like the most important thing that we can do as a community is take action and try to do whatever it takes to first comfort their family, and two, make this a preventable circumstance in our community," Wait said.

The driver of the car that hit Hershel was given a citation for failing to exercise due care with a pedestrian in the roadway.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Hershel's family.

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