On May 4, 2022, a hit-and-run car crash killed 22-year-old Nick Parlingayan on the city’s Northwest Side, raising safety concerns among other cyclists. Almost nine months later on Jan. 30, the Parlingayan family’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Metra, the city of Chicago and others in the death of what his mother described as a “vibrant, loving” young man.
The half-mile stretch of Milwaukee Avenue between Kilbourn Avenue and Addison Street where Parlingayan was killed is considered deadly by cycling advocates, given its heavy car traffic, a major Metra reconstruction project and little protection for bikers and pedestrians.
According to the 31-page complaint filed by law firm Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, “the northwest driving lane of Milwaukee Avenue narrowed to a half-lane due to construction at the Grayland Metra Station, forcing vehicles to drive into the bike lane that ran through the underpass of the viaduct.
“Metra, Transystems Corporation, the city of Chicago and IHC Construction had a shared duty to exercise caution when creating and overseeing the traffic pattern to avoid causing injury or harm to those traveling in the area. As such, the defendants were negligent in providing adequate accommodations for travel, adequate warning signage for bicyclists, and an adequate alternative route for cyclists.”
The driver, Philip Pinkawa, and Di Vita’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, his employer at the time, are also listed as defendants in the case. Representatives for Metra and the city of Chicago declined to comment on the lawsuit, and the other defendants named could not be immediately reached.
Parlingayan became the third bicycling fatality in Chicago in 2022. Pinkawa turned himself in to police later that week after his mother “put two and two together” and urged him to go to authorities.
The lawsuit mentions another cyclist who was fatally struck near the same intersection in 2019. Carla Aiello, a 37-year-old high school counselor, was killed when the driver of a dump truck made a right turn from Milwaukee onto Kilbourn.
Parlingayan was riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane of the 2800 block of North Milwaukee near the underpass at approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 4. The lawsuit alleges Pinkawa was “driving at a high rate of speed northwest of Milwaukee” when he crashed his car into Parlingayan, dragging him for more than 50 feet.
The crash was captured on surveillance footage from a nearby business, according to the lawsuit. As Pinkawa fled the scene, the lawsuit says, a witness called police to report the crash. Paramedics transported an unconscious Parlingayan to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died at 10:10 p.m. of blunt force injuries, according to information from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“Nick loved being outdoors and riding his bicycle. While we miss his vibrant, loving personality every day, I find a small bit of peace in knowing Nick is helping to make the city a safer place for his fellow cyclists,” said Parlingayan’s mother, Mary “Gigi” Geraldin Alegarbes, in a news release. “I can only hope this lawsuit holds those responsible accountable and prevents another family from experiencing the unimaginable pain we have felt this past year.”