A woman traveling northbound on the Bishop Ford Freeway was killed Wednesday morning when she was struck by a tire that came off a vehicle headed in the opposite direction, a spokesperson with the Illinois State Police told NBC Chicago.
First responders had to free Jovanka Mijatov, 64, who was pinned in her white 2011 Nissan Versa by "debris" after the 6:10 a.m. crash, Illinois State Police Trooper David Roman said.
Mijatov, of Schererville, Indiana, was taken by ambulance to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead.
Nearby, a green 1997 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 48-year-old Mariana Blanco, of Hammond, Indiana, was pulled over to the side of the southbound lane without a left rear tire.
Blanco received three citations: driving without valid insurance, driving without valid registration and driving with unsafe tires, Roman said.
Doris Smith was Mijatov's neighbor, and described her friend as a doting mother and grandmother who will be missed.
"She liked plants, she just Saturday gave me three starts of plants," Smith said. "We got to know her quite well. Always working, very hard worker."
Blanco's sister, Rocio Frendez, said she was headed to her Hammond home after getting off of work and is devastated by Mijatov's death.
"It's hard to believe what happened this morning. It's not an easy thing to swallow," Frendez said. "We feel very close to this because we've lost family in the same way."
Mijatov lived by herself and worked as an accountant at a Chicago bank. She was originally from Serbia.