Driver who killed pedestrian in the Loop is found not guilty by reason of insanity

Jamaal Huffman and Maria Chiqui (Chicago Police Department, Legacy.com)

CHICAGO — A suburban man who struck and killed a woman in downtown Chicago while speeding the wrong way in a parking lane during a rainstorm was found not guilty by reason of insanity during a jury trial this week.

Judge Ursula Walowski ordered the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to evaluate 29-year-old Jamaal Huffman to see if he needs mental health services, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Huffman struck Maria Chiqui with his BMW as she entered a crosswalk at Jackson and Wabash around 5:20 p.m. on May 28, 2021. Chiqui, 55, hit the windshield of Huffman’s car and was thrown across Wabash by the impact, prosecutors said. She suffered head injuries and was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Huffman, who allegedly had an expired license at the time of the crash, pulled over about a block from the crash site and was taken into custody, prosecutors said. Witnesses identified him, and prosecutors said video cameras recorded the collision.

Prosecutors charged him with reckless homicide with a motor vehicle.

Judge Walowski’s trial notes show the jury reached its verdict Wednesday night after four hours of deliberation.

The judge ordered DHS to conduct Huffman’s evaluation on an outpatient basis. She will hold another hearing on the matter on March 18.

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