A 31-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer who died when the SUV she was driving rolled over on the Chicago Skyway late Friday was on her way to celebrate a new position with the department, according to her family.
Shaunda Bond, 31, was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. at the Cook County medical examiner's office. She lived in the 4100 block of South Michigan Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
The officer's older sister works in the section of the Chicago Police Department that investigates fatal accidents and answered the phone when officers on the Skyway called to notify them of the wreck, police said.
When Bond's sister got the call informing her of the accident, she recognized the license plate number as that of her baby sister, said Sabrina Walls-Brown, a cousin. Family members said that the sister did not want to speak to reporters.
"She's just not good at all," Walls-Brown said.
Bond was on her way to meet her cousin Daphne Flores and three other friends at Patron's Hacienda in the River North neighborhood to celebrate the woman getting a spot on a tactical response unit, said Flores. Police could not immediately confirm the information.
Bond joined the police department in December 2009 and was assigned to the South Chicago District, which covers the area from 75th Street south to 138th, between roughly Woodlawn Avenue and the state line.
"She loved helping people, she was always able to help somebody," said Flores. "She just had a warm heart."
Relatives gathered in the sparse living room of the Bond family home on the Far South Side Saturday afternoon, barely speaking above whispers and steeped in disbelief.
"When I got the call, I was like, what are you saying to me?" said Walls-Brown. "It didn't really register until I walked through this door. I just can't believe I won't see her face again."
Bond, the youngest of three girls, grew up in Chicago, graduated from Longwood Academy high school, and later attended Alabama State and Chicago State universities, according to the cousins. Though she pursued other career paths, Walls-Brown said it was Bond's goal to become a police detective like her oldest sister.
Another sister is a Cook County Sheriff's officer.
Outgoing, statuesque and adventurous, Bond had an affinity for travel, Walls-Brown said, and had planned to leave on Sunday for a two-week journey to Thailand.
"If you met her once, you would never forget her," Walls-Brown said. "She just had a smile that would brighten up any room. She was always happy."
Flores said Bond also considered being a teacher.
"She liked working with people, she loved public service work," Flores said.
The crash happened about 10:40 p.m. Friday near 81st Street on the Skyway when the 2003 Land Rover SUV Bond was driving flipped over.
Bond was the lone occupant in the SUV, which was the only vehicle involved in the crash.
According to a witness interviewed by police, her SUV was seen traveling at a high rate of speed before it hit a concrete barrier and rolled.