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Bridgeport hit-run claims life of aspiring graphic artist, 21

Updated: July 17, 2013 7:12AM

A 21-year-old woman who’d been working as a barista and aspired to a career as a graphic artist was killed late Friday in a hit-and-run crash in Bridgeport.

Carissa Hinz was hit by a speeding, dark-colored car around 11 p.m. in the 3200 block of South Morgan Street, about a block from the Bridgeport Coffee Company where she’d worked for more than a year.

Police said Carissa Hinz was crossing Morgan Street near 32nd Street when she was hit by a speeding car that was southbound on Morgan. The impact threw the young woman a short distance, police said. She was unresponsive and died at the scene. The driver took off.

“Everybody knew her. Everyone in the neighborhood,” Atticus Agurie, a friend and co-worker, said Saturday. “Everybody showed up . . . at the scene when they found out. It’s a really tough day for us.”

Hinz spent her last night volunteering at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, a cultural center in Bridgeport.

“If you’re bored and looking for something to do, come on down to the co-prosperity sphere for an interesting night, and me of course!” she wrote on her Facebook page Friday night.

Hinz graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago last month, specializing in graphic design. She worked as a barista full-time at the coffee house, where she managed to make use of her creativity, Agurie said.

“She customized drinks all the time,” Agurie said. “She made peanut butter cup lattes. She just started making cherry cheesecake lattes.”

The coffeehouse put out a written statement Saturday describing Hinz as “an artistic soul with a generous heart” who was “beloved by neighbors, customers and co-workers.”

Hinz grew up in Downstate Paxton, about 110 miles south of Chicago.

Michelle Hinz said her niece’s artistic talents were clear even as a child, when she would make Christmas ornaments and other crafts for family members.

“It was the one thing that she wanted to do her whole life, to be an artist,” the aunt said. “She went to school for it, and she strived at it.”

Carissa Hinz loved few things more than art, including cats, her aunt said. She had several tattoos, including one of her favorite childhood pet.

“She was very outgoing, very creative, very fun-loving, energetic, always dancing, and just loved life,” Michelle Hinz said.

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