Newly Engaged Breast Cancer Survivor Who Just Finished Chemo Dies After Hit-and-Run in Chicago Crosswalk
Newly engaged Sophie Allen's heaviest burdens were behind her, she hoped, after surgery and the end of treatment following a diagnosis of Stage 2 breast cancer last fall at the age of 27.
"I just finished kind of the hardest part," she told an interviewer for Raleigh, N.C., TV station WRAL in June, while promoting her participation in the virtual Triangle Race for the Cure sponsored by Susan G. Komen. "I had surgery in April after finishing chemotherapy in February, so I'm just getting back into the swing of things."
She added: "I'm just kind of looking forward to getting back to life."
Her life abruptly ended on a visit to Chicago -- where, around 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, a hit-and-run driver in a gold BMW X3 SUV struck Allen and a friend walking through an intersection after they had just taken a photo of themselves together in front of Wrigley Field's iconic marquee. Allen suffered fatal head injuries and was declared dead at the scene.
Police still are seeking the driver and passenger who fled on foot after the SUV, which had run a stop sign, jumped the sidewalk and crashed into a fence, reports CBS Chicago. Minutes earlier and a block away, the same vehicle had struck another car in a crosswalk after cutting through a gas station parking lot, according to witnesses, the outlet reports.
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"This person murdered my friend in the middle of the day in the most popular part of Chicago," the other victim, Nahiomy Alvarez, who suffered a concussion, said Monday night at a vigil in Chicago for Allen, reports WGN-TV. "It's important to me we find closure."
The women met while working in Washington, D.C., where Allen was an associate at a public policy consulting firm, and later a director at Flag Media Analytics, a news-monitoring service.
In June, Allen moved with her rescue dog, Ollie Bear, to Orlando for a new job with a financial technology start-up, and to join her fiancé, Andrew Pollizzi, a fellow Duke University student she'd met just before her 2016 graduation, according to her obituary.
The couple had set Sept. 23, 2023, as their wedding date in Raleigh, N.C., near where Allen grew up.
"Sophie has always been an incredible person: joyful, dynamic, smart, accomplished, outrageously ambitious, and caring just begin to describe her," the obituary said. "She was fiercely passionate about everything: friends, family, puppy dogs, soccer, Duke, travel, food, reading, spin cycling, surfing ... the list goes on and on."
The family said Allen fought her cancer through six cycles of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and reconstruction, lymph node removal and five weeks of daily radiation.
"On June 24, 2021, after running with Ollie, Sophie completed her last aggressive treatment and had 51 days of pure joy, cancer- and aggressive-treatment free, before the tragedy," they wrote.
Alvarez issued a public plea for the driver to come forth. "It is not too late to own up to your mistakes," she said, reports WLS. "You have a community that is devastated."
"I feel like I am whole. I do not have any fractures, which is incredible," she said. But she added: "Part of me is like, what was the last thing that I said to my best friend? I do not think that I will ever remember and that breaks my heart."
Police say anonymous tips may be sent to cpdtip.com.