Community Rallies For Family Of Hector Avalos, Chicago Cyclist And Former Marine Killed In Crash

Community Rallies For Family Of Slain Cyclist

Donations are pouring in to support the family of Hector Avalos, the Chicago cyclist and former Marine who was struck by a van and killed late Friday night.

The GiveForward campaign to help Avalos' family with his funeral expenses that started Monday had exceeded its goal of $6,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, friends and family gathered at Ogden Avenue and Rockwell Street where Avalos was hit to install a "ghost bike" for their loved one.

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Family said the 28-year-old, who had two younger siblings, loved being active outdoors and was known to ride his bike everywhere. The culinary school grad was reportedly biking home from his work shift at El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria when he was killed, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

A suburban Riverside man is accused of driving drunk and hitting Avalos just before midnight on Friday. Robert Vais, 54, was held on $400,000 bond Sunday. A longtime administrator at Stroger Hospital in the city, Vais is charged with felony aggravated DUI and two misdemeanor DUI charges, according to the Tribune.

"I was the driver of that van over there," Vais said to police, according to court records. "I hit him. Is he OK?"

Avalos was pronounced dead shortly after the crash.

Police said Vais' eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol, according to court records. Vais later was found to have a blood alcohol content of .118 when he was tested -- well over the legal limit of .08 -- according to court records.

Family of both Avalos and Vais wept in court Sunday. Avalos' mother, Ingrid Cossio, expressed shocked Vais had the opportunity to make bail and, as she told the Sun-Times, “kill someone else.”

“Who’s gonna be next?” Cossio said. “How dare the judge do that to anyone out there on the street?”

A wake for Avalos is planned for Wednesday and Thursday at the Elmwood Funeral Chapel in the city's East Side neighborhood followed by a Friday mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 3200 E. 91st St., in South Chicago.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Avalos was a father of two. It has been updated to reflect that he, instead, had two younger siblings.

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