'It's not fair': Friends mourn Arlington Heights woman and dad killed in Des Plaines crash

  • Sharon Telson, left, and Kimberly Karsen had been friends for 13 years. Telson described Karsen as "someone you could count on if you needed to talk to someone."

    Sharon Telson, left, and Kimberly Karsen had been friends for 13 years. Telson described Karsen as "someone you could count on if you needed to talk to someone." Courtesy of Sharon Telson

  • Des Plaines police say the driver of this SUV claimed he suffered a medical emergency Sunday before veering off the road and fatally striking two pedestrians.

      Des Plaines police say the driver of this SUV claimed he suffered a medical emergency Sunday before veering off the road and fatally striking two pedestrians. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • An Arlington Heights woman and her father were fatally struck Sunday by what police said was an out-of-control SUV in Des Plaines.

      An Arlington Heights woman and her father were fatally struck Sunday by what police said was an out-of-control SUV in Des Plaines. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/29/2022 1:13 PM

Friends and co-workers are mourning an Arlington Heights woman and her father fatally struck Sunday by what police said was an out-of-control SUV in Des Plaines.

Kimberly Karsen, 42, and Neal Greenfield, 80, of Skokie, were killed in front of the restaurant they'd just left, police said. The driver, a 71-year-old Des Plaines man, claimed to have experienced a medical emergency before veering off the road, hitting Karsen and Greenfield, and then slamming into the restaurant and a neighboring business, according to police.

 

"It's so heartbreaking," said Sharon Telson, a friend of Karsen's.

The women met 13 years ago at a since-closed bar in Prospect Heights and hit it off, Telson said. Karsen was a good friend and a good listener, Telson said.

"(She was) someone you could count on if you needed to talk," said Telson, of Springfield.

Karsen went by Kim, and only Telson and Telson's husband, Steve, were allowed to call her "Kimmy," she said. Karsen was godmother to the couple's 9-year-old daughter, Nevaeh.

Karsen and Telson last saw each other in October at Telson's 40th birthday party. Telson said she was shocked when a friend informed her of Sunday's tragedy.

"It's not fair," Telson said.

Karsen's father was athletic, running marathons despite his advanced age, Telson said.

Karsen and Greenfield had just left the L & L Snack Shop, 456 E. Northwest Highway, and were walking to their nearby car a little after noon Sunday when they were struck by the 2007 Honda SUV, police said.

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Both were taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where they were pronounced dead.

The SUV's driver, Diomedes Morales Buncen of Des Plaines, was taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said. A boy and a girl in his vehicle were not injured.

Police continue to investigate the crash. No charges have been filed.

Karsen was an only child who was raised by her dad after her mother died, Telson said. He was Jewish and raised Karsen in the faith, Telson said.

Telson described Karsen as being full of life. Before Telson moved to Springfield, they frequently gathered with other friends for dinners and game nights.

Karsen recently started working at the Schaumburg office of Barrington Orthopedic Specialists. Her supervisor there, Evelyn Hockey, said she cared a lot about patients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"She was always very helpful and kind and a dedicated employee," said Hockey, the facility's director of patient services.

Karsen had a close relationship with her father, Hockey said.

"She always enjoyed spending time with him and was always there for him," Hockey said.

Karsen previously had worked at Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights as a unit secretary and patient care technician in the day surgery center.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of our friend and former colleague," NCH spokeswoman Amy Jo Steinbruecker said. "We offer our heartfelt condolences to her family during this difficult time."

Memorial details are pending.

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