Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - David Struett and Fran Spielman, with Carly Behm and Jer­maine Nolen con­tribut­ing.

A 55-year-old Ari­zona woman died af­ter she was struck and dragged a half block by a hit-and-run driver Mon­day night on the Near North Side, and an al­der­man has tied the in­ci­dent to con­tin­ued loot­ing in the area.

She was one of two women about to cross the street in the first block of East Hub­bard Street when a male driv­ing a sil­ver-col­ored Ford Ex­plorer SUV hit her and an­other woman, Chicago po­lice said.

Zo­raleigh Ryan, of Chan­dler, Ari­zona, was dragged about half a block at 10:30 p.m. and died at the scene, po­lice and the Cook County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice said. The se­cond woman, 20, was treated for mi­nor abra­sions and re­leased from a hos­pi­tal, po­lice said.

Of­fi­cers nearby tried to stop the driver, but he sped off, po­lice said.

Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman Luis Agos­tini, in a text mes­sage to the Sun­Times, said a man had sur­ren­dered to po­lice and charges were pend­ing, but they had not been able to tie the in­ci­dent to the mas­sive down­town loot­ing early Mon­day.

But Ald. Brian Hop­kins (2nd) did.

“We have rea­son to be­lieve that this ve­hi­cle was in­volved in loot­ing. De­tec­tives have not made that de­ter­mi­na­tion yet. But there’s some wit­ness state­ments that sug­gest it. We know that the loot­ers drive ex­tremely fast and reck­lessly. That was what this ve­hi­cle was do­ing,” Hop­kins said Tues­day.

Hop­kins was asked what makes him so cer­tain when de­tec­tives are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the po­ten­tial link.

“Be­cause of the non­stop reck­less driv­ing that was as­so­ci­ated with the loot­ing ac­tiv­i­ties Sun­day night. Cars fly­ing in all di­rec­tions. Go­ing the wrong way down one-way streets. Fly­ing against red-lights. For hours, I watched that hap­pen,” the al­der­man said.

Hop­kins said there was spo­radic loot­ing Mon­day night and Tues­day morn­ing. “It was sig­nif­i­cantly less than we saw Sun­day night. But there were still some scat­tered re­ports in the 18th Dis­trict — down­town and River North.”

Ald. Brian Hop­kins

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