Yun Park, the owner of Soapie’s Dry Cleaning, is out of the hospital and undergoing rehab, after a hit and run that left her in intensive care at Evanston Hospital.

“She’s starting to walk, and she’s a little bit more stable,” said Sofije Gurzakovic, an employee of Soapie’s.

Yun Park sits in front of the wall mural for her shop. This picture punctuates the Go-Fund-Me page friends put up for Park, who was the victim of a hit and run driver on Feb,. 8, that left her with a fractured skull. Credit: Susy Schultz

Evanston Hospital confirmed Park was no longer a patient there, according to spokesperson Jim Anthony. The hospital was unable to share further information on Park’s condition.

She left the hospital Tuesday, Feb. 21, and was to begin treatment at a rehabilitation center in Chicago, according to an update on the fundraiser. As of Feb. 28, a GoFundMe fundraiser to aid Park’s recovery has raised more than $55,000 of its $100,000 goal. Park’s daughter was not available for comment.

Park, 53, was walking west on Dempster Street around 6:15 a.m. on Feb. 8 and crossed Chicago Avenue at the traffic light when a white or silver SUV turned left on Chicago and struck Park, leaving her unconscious. While the incident was initially viewed as a fall, a video emerged on Feb. 18 that showed it was a hit and run.

Still from video showing hit and run.

But local shopkeepers, friends and colleagues have raised serious questions about the lag time between the date of the incident and the time the police started an investigation.

Park was unconscious, but the ambulance report shows she had extensive injuries when she was transported to Evanston Hospital shortly after the accident, which happened in the early morning hours, according to a police report obtained by the RoundTable through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“From our knowledge [at the time of the accident], we thought she fainted or passed out,” said Gurzakovic, Park’s colleague. “[But there] had to be more to it. … Due to her injuries, it didn’t make sense for her to just fall and faint.”

Questions remain over whether the police should have been notified earlier by the hospital, given the extent of Park’s injuries, and whether a protocol exists between the hospital and police when a patient is injured and unable to explain the circumstances.

But it was only through an effort by Park’s colleagues in the neighborhood, which was all started via an accidental conversation, that other shopkeepers began searching through their security surveillance tapes and discovered how Park was injured.

The shopkeepers showed Park’s daughter the videos of the car hitting her mother, and Park’s daughter went to police that day to report it, 10 days after the incident occurred.

“Police were not called or involved in the incident on Feb. 8. It wasn’t until Feb. 18 that we were alerted,” said EPD Commander Ryan Glew.

“Regarding the Feb. 8 hit and run that severely injured Soapie’s owner Yun Park, this case is open and the Evanston Police Department is actively seeking leads on the offending vehicle involved in this matter,” EPD Sgt. Ken Carter said.

The traffic department is currently investigating the case, and police are looking for leads and additional footage that might have caught the license plate of the vehicle.

“It’s important that the police department and hospitals have a good, positive working relationship,” said Anthony, the hospital spokesperson. They each have their roles and duties, he added.

“I would imagine it’s a case-by-case basis,” Glew said, adding that police are involved in cases when people come to the hospital with gunshot or stab wounds.

“We continue to encourage our community partners to provide any information they believe that would assist us in this investigation,” Carter said. 

Anyone with information on the hit and run can text the police.

Manan Bhavnani

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

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  1. any updates on this story? it seems as if someone would have seen something ?
    manon kavesky