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Ghost Bike Vigil - 16 year old Josh Anleu (updated 3/2024)

Updated: Mar 17



[CHICAGO] On Thurs, Josh Anleu’s mom contacted me & asked if I would attend court with her this Mon 3/18. Her 16 y/o son was killed in Oct after a speeding driver blew a stop sign. Josh’s mom is worried charges are being dropped against the driver.

It’s our understanding the driver who killed Josh had cocaine in her system & has a history of drug charges dating back to 2015. Josh’s mom is pretty unfamiliar with the court system & from what we can tell, the legal system is taking advantage of that.

We’ve spent the last few days trying to get caught up on what’s going on. We still have a lot of unanswered questions, but we will share what we know so far.

We learned Josh’s mom didn’t have an attorney. We helped get her one. Karen needs help covering attorney fees. Her & her family just paid for a funeral out of pocket & they can’t afford an attorney. We asked her to start a gofundme to help cover the legal fees.

We do not yet know exactly what Monday’s court date is for - but based on what we are learning so far ***WERE CONCERNED *** charges against the driver might be dropped or dramatically reduced.

Karen stated the detective is pushing for jail time, however Kim Ward, the Assist. State’s Attorney who supervises the office’s felony review unit, (responsible for approving & rejecting charges police bring in for prosecution) feels the crash was Josh’s fault.

Josh’s mom states Kim Ward feels there are no witnesses proving the driver was speeding/blowing through the stop sign. The police report clearly documents a neighbor who witnessed the crash & was found trying to keep Josh alive when emt’s arrived.

We’ve spent the last few days trying to track down info, raise awareness & get people up to speed on what’s going on. We’ve been working with elected officials for this location, the witness, & the media. All of us plan to attend the court date Monday.

As a reminder, the location Josh was killed while biking is also the SAME location Ernesto Vargas was critical injured on 2/23/23. Police never showed up & driver fled. This location is horribly dangerous. Drivers speed & blow stop signs incessantly in this neighborhood.

Josh’s mom was thrown into a legal system she knows nothing about. She trusted the legal system would ‘work’ & find justice for her son & the biking community. That legal system appears to be taking advantage of her.

It sets a dangerous precedent to let a case like the one against the woman who killed Josh get dropped & have the driver go free. We’re seeing across the board there’s minimal framework for suitable punishments for drivers who break the law, commit repeated crimes & even kill people. There doesn't seem to be a template for investigating fatal crashes - CPD lets drivers go home after killing someone. Often times - people drive themselves home after killing someone with their cars!

There's an election on tues & calling folks out is important. We’re seeing CPD fail in the cases of Josh & Ernesto (& the biking community in general) & we're seeing prosecutors willing to let killers go free so they can repeat their behavior again and again. This is unacceptable: @claytonforcook , @EileenCookCnty , @SAKimFoxx The system is broken and failing victims of hit & run crashes and the biking community. We need a prosecutor willing to see these cases through.


At the request of the family, please join us, along with Josh's friends, and state and city officials for a ghost bike vigil for Josh Anleu. Josh was a sophomore at Schurz High School & died on October 6th a few days after being hit while riding his bicycle in Portage Park. He is 1 of 3 people killed biking in Chicago in 3 weeks. When: Saturday, November 4th & 1pm. Where: Corner of Long and Waveland


News Reports

Recent bicycle deaths in Chicago a grim reminder of concerns

Chicago Tribune


Family, friends, local leaders seek change after 16-year-old biker killed in Portage Park crash

ABC Chicago


Vigil for Portage Park teen killed while biking: ‘We just need to do better as drivers’

Chicago Sun-Times


Ghost bike placed for 16-year-old killed in Portage Park: ‘That was his freedom, his hobby’

Chicago Tribune


Ghost bike honoring teen placed at site of deadly crash



At Vigil For 16-Year-Old Cyclist Josh Anleu, Family Urges Drivers To ‘Do Better’

Block Club Chicago


At memorial for fallen cyclist Josh Anleu Buendia, 16, his mom says we need to “care about other people’s lives” on the road

Streetsblog Chicago



Photos & Videos: Ghost Bike Vigil

Saturday was *tough* 16 year old Josh Anleu’s family spoke at his ghost bike vigil - even his 6 year old brother. And for the first time since we’ve been doing this, we were joined by the 3oth ward alder, Illinois state representative, & Illinois state senator.

A large part of Josh's identity was his pink bike - so his mom painted his ghost bike pink for him. Prior to painting the ghost bike, Josh’s family wrote notes to him that we sealed into the bike’s frame.

Josh was the 2nd “606 Fixie Kid” to be killed in less than 2 years. Stats show less than 40% of teens 16-19 are even getting a drivers license. Many of these kids are old enough to drive but they choose to bike instead. They need safe spaces.

For the folks not from Chicago, the “606 Fixie Kids” are teens from multiple schools who are hyper into riding bikes. They typically travel in packs by bike around the city and they hang out in the Damen St amphitheater of the “606” aka Bloomingdale Trail.

Not only do deaths involving bicyclists impact the victim's family and friends, but they also have a ripple effect in communities. We were joined at the vigil by the neighbor who witnessed a driver hit Josh. When police arrived he was doing chest compressions on Josh trying to keep him alive.

Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for Josh, his family and friends.


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