As police continue to search for clues in the hit-and-run death of 85-year-old Bessie Manning on Oct. 14, her family is pleading with the public to come forward with information concerning the grandmother’s death.
The victim’s grandson, Melvin Manning, 26, of Austin, urged witnesses not to be caught up in the “no snitching” street code.
“No snitching is one of the biggest things going on right now and we really need to stop that,” Manning said. “That same person that done this to Bessie Manning could possibly be out there on the road and you would hate to have this happen to one of your family members. This is one of the biggest reasons we need to step up.”
Bessie Manning of the 300 Block of North Menard was struck while crossing the street near Division and Waller early Sunday morning Oct. 14. She was taken in critical condition to Mt. Sinai Hospital where she later died of her injuries. Services for Manning took place Monday Oct. 22 at Hudson Funeral Home, 8745 S. Commercial Ave.
Police have a vague description of the car, but officials said it was a dark colored vehicle, though they have no information on the make or model.
Melvin Manning hopes cameras from area businesses will provide more clues. He believes that the person who called in the accident could have been involved. He contends residents in this community are “nosy and normally stick around when something goes wrong.”
“For this person not to stay, it was kind of fishy to me,” Manning said. “I thought maybe the person who could’ve hit her was the person that called. Maybe they had a little bit of a conscious.”
He pressed upon that person’s conscious to do the right thing.
“If you don’t even come forward; just ask God for forgiveness. We need to have a little more human compassion especially here in Chicago,” Manning said, adding that he doesn’t know why his grandmother would be out that late.
But he believes his grandmother may have been suffering from undiagnosed dementia. Still, Manning described his grandmother as very sociable with a personality that quickly made friends. He said she had a gift for gab.
“If she had a hobby talking would be it. She loved to talk,” he said of his grandmother, who often told stories about going to Riverview Amusement Park.
His grandmother was a die-hard Sox fan, he said, having fallen in love with the sport while dating a Negro League player while living in Canton, Miss.
Bessie Manning moved to Chicago in 1954, settling in the Robert Taylor Homes, a housing development on the South Side, where she raised seven children.
Melvin Manning recalled that his grandmother was like the building’s matron. She always kept a watchful eye on happenings in the building. When she’d barbecued, she never refused a person who asked for a plate, he said.
“She was just a friendly person,” recalled Manning, who remembers his grandmother as a vivacious woman who cut a rug at his wedding.
“She danced the whole night,” he said.
Manning remembers visiting his grandmother in Robert Taylor. He recalled how boastful she was about her grandchildren – 23 in all.
“She was like that grandmother you see on the TV, one that always cared about the kids and made sure they were all right. She was a sweet person at heart,” he said.
When the city began tearing down the Robert Taylor homes, Bessie Manning settled in the Austin community with her sister, Alberta, in the 900 block of North Leamington. Eventually they moved into the Senior Suites of Austin at 335 N. Menard Ave.
Manning said he doesn’t feel the residential facility is responsible for in his grandmother’s death. He maintains that staff has been very supportive during this difficult time.
Although their mother didn’t have much, son Percy Lee Manning, said she instilled the value of hard work in all her kids. “She didn’t have much of an education but she did what she could for the better of us.”