Family recalls man killed by hit-and-run driver
By BRIAN STANLEY Bstanley@stmedianetwork.com December 7, 2012 8:12PM
A Joliet Police Department electronic sign notifies motorists of a hit and run accident at Curtis Avenue and William Street and that police are seeking information Wednesday, December 5, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:16AM
Raul Valladolid said the final action of his father’s life exemplified it.
At 6:45 a.m. Dec. 1, Luis and Carmen Valladolid, both 68, were walking their dog on William Street near Curtis Avenue in Joliet when a car turned into the wrong lane from the intersection.
“My mom said (Luis) heard the car and started to pivot. There was no time but he just reacted and pushed her out of the way to save her life,” Raul Valladolid said.
As the gray or silver car struck them from behind, Carmen Valladolid suffered a sprained ankle and scrapes. Her husband was thrown into the windshield and suffered massive head trauma.
The driver of the car was described as a 30-year-old black man with a thin build and gold teeth. He briefly stopped and got out to look at the couple before getting back in the car and driving north on Waverly Place, police Capt. Mike Botzum said. A police officer on his way to work saw the couple in the street and called paramedics.
Luis Valladolid remained on life support until Monday when he died at 12:42 p.m.
Police have canvassed the neighborhood and checked local repair shops, but the vehicle and the driver have not been located.
Luis and Carmen had been married 49 years and had six children and 14 grandchildren, all of whom live in the Joliet area.
Raul Valladolid said his father immigrated from Mexico more than 40 years ago and arrived in Joliet after a brief time in California. Luis Valladolid took adult education classes at Joliet Central and became a master welder.
“His focus in life was providing for his wife and children. He had a lot of pride and was big on making sure his children were educated,” Raul Valladolid said.
When local industrial jobs saw record unemployment in the 1980s, Valladolid chose to pick up aluminum cans from the side of the interstate instead of accept handouts.
“He was very much a self-made man ... old school,” his son recalled. “We’d wait for him to come home before we’d sit down to dinner every night. He was fair, but didn’t put up with any shennanigans.”
Luis Valladolid also enjoyed attending local rodeos and working on projects at his own house.
Valladolid semi-retired from Illinois Marine Towing a couple years ago, but worked until last week when he finally cleaned out his locker.
“He said he finally had enough. He couldn’t stand seeing his co-workers faces any longer. But that was his sense of humor,” Raul Valladolid said. “He decided to finally retire because he and my mother were going to take a trip to Mexico this week.”
Raul Valladolid said his family is “shocked and feels robbed” of their father and it’s shameful the driver who killed him “showed less compassion than an animal.”
“He deserved his golden years. Seeing him gone in the hospital was devastating,” Raul said.
Funeral service for Luis Valladolid were Friday.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 815-724-3010 or anonymously call CrimeStoppers at 800-323-6734.