Mount Prospect may remove memorial for killed cyclist

The widower of a woman struck and killed on her bike in Mount Prospect last June is claiming the village's directive to immediately remove her roadside memorial that incorporates a "ghost bike" is retaliation against his criticism of the police department's handling of the case.

Eric Jakubowski, whose wife, Joni Beaudry, was killed June 9 when an SUV struck her as she rode her bike in a crosswalk, said he was contacted Thursday night to have her memorial removed by the end of the business day Friday.

Neither Mount Prospect Village Manager Michael Cassady nor Police Chief Timothy Janowick could be reached for comment Friday.

But in email correspondence with Jakubowski, Janowick cited a village ordinance that allows roadside memorials to remain no more than 90 days after their commemorated tragedy.

Furthermore, Janowick said at least one driver had already claimed this particular memorial to be a distraction that contributed to a crash.

The crosswalk where Beaudry was killed crosses Central Road at the intersection of Weller Lane near Melas Park.

Jakubowski said he didn't know much about the meaning of "ghost bikes" before the one in his wife's memorial was donated by family friend Janet Leet. But they are supposed to indicate a dangerous intersection as well as serve as a memorial, he said.

Saying he knows of two other roadside memorials that have remained in the village for years, Jakubowski argues his wife's "ghost bike" should remain until a four-way traffic signal replaces the signage and flashing lights at the intersection.

"To me, the bike is a symbol of work that still needs to be done and that something happened there that didn't need to happen," Jakubowski said.

He has criticized police's findings that his wife contributed to the crash even though they placed the primary blame on SUV driver Hanna Burzynska, 56, of Elk Grove Village. Burzynska paid $364 in fines and court costs earlier this month after pleading guilty to three traffic citations in connection with the accident.

Jakubowski said he expects the village to remove the "ghost bike." He says he won't do it himself because it never belonged to him.

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Joni Beaudry
  Eric Jakubowski of Mount Prospect thinks the crosswalk on Central Road near Melas Park is confusing and gives a false sense of security. A memorial "ghost bike" placed at the intersection was ordered to be removed by Friday night. Mark Welsh/
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