Man Who Tried to Stop DUI Dragged and Fatally Struck; Driver Arrested


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The victim was fatally struck just south of the Aberdeen Tap.

Shane Stokowski, 33, was killed Saturday while trying to prevent a fellow bar patron from driving drunk, according to Officer Michael Sullivan from Police News Affairs. Stokowski, of the 3500 block of West Altgeld in Logan Square, had been hanging out with friends at the Aberdeen Tap, 440 North Aberdeen in West Town, when another patron left the bar intoxicated and planning to drive away. Police have not released the driver’s name, pending charges from the state’s attorney’s office, but Sullivan said it was a 42-year-old man.

Stokowski followed the man and attempted to keep him from leaving in his black SUV. Just before 5 p.m., Stokowski reached into the truck, trying to prevent the driver from taking off, and the perpetrator hit the gas, dragging him, Sullivan said. When the victim fell from the truck just south of the bar, a second motorist struck him.

Stokowski was transported to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly at 5:18 p.m. An autopsy performed Sunday found that he died of head injuries, and his death was classified as a homicide.

The second driver stayed on the scene and has not been charged, but the SUV driver fled. Police were able to track him down via his license plate number and apprehended him at 9:55 that evening on the 2100 block of West Superior, which is not where he resides, Sullivan said.

According to an NBC report, Stokowski worked as a graphic artist at Emmi Solutions, where cofounder Jordan Dolin described him as “an incredibly talented and creative soul” who was “as nice a guy as you can imagine” and “always upbeat.” Stokowski was engaged to be married.

Updated March 25, 5 p.m.

The alleged drunk driver has been identified as Timothy McShane. He was charged today with with one count of aggravated DUI causing death, one count of failure to report an accident and one count of reckless homicide, which are felonies, plus two counts of driving on a suspended license, which is a misdemeanor. He had two previous DUI convictions.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 4 (3 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 0

 

  • Anne A

    I’m glad the driver was caught. It really sucks when someone trying to do the right thing gets injured or killed for it.

  • Ryan Wallace

    That last sentence just absolutely crushes me.

  • What an awful story. I couldn’t find the article on the tribune’s site anymore, am i correct in assuming this is the west town hit-and-run that was reported?

    edit: nm, found the article

  • Fred

    “There is a vast range of ideas about what is sensible within the law, and I know I get pissed off whenever somebody tries to “mom” me for violating whatever random pet peeve they may have. It makes me twice as likely to do whatever behavior offended them. It also provokes conflict, and can be dangerous if you try momming the wrong person.

    Don’t try to regulate other people’s behavior. I don’t need you to be my referee.”

    -BlueFairlane

  • Mishellie

    This is exceedingly sad. A guy just trying to do a good thing and is killed for it.

  • BlueFairlane

    Two points.

    One, there is no leeway within the law about whether you are drunk or not. There is a very definite, hard limit determined by the amount of alcohol in your blood. This is significantly different than the perceived transgressions of bicyclists you were suggesting we all go vigilante on in the previous post.

    2. You might notice that the victim of this tragedy was killed while trying to take the duties of law enforcement upon himself. Now, don’t misconstrue what I am saying … this was in absolutely no way the victim’s fault. But had the victim called 911 to report a drunk driver instead of trying to handle it himself, he would not have been placed in harm’s way and would still have a wedding to look forward to.

    I stand by my statement.

  • I suggest that we refrain from second-guessing the victim’s actions until more details of the case are revealed.

  • BlueFairlane

    I am happy to do so as long as nobody else tries to misapply my words to a situation to which they don’t relate.

  • Kevin M

    I wonder if Aberdeen Tap will be charged in the civil lawsuit.

    Mr. Stokowski could have called 911 and not gotten directly involved, but that would have allowed time for the drunk driver to a) injury or kill an innocent person and b) escape the police and the corresponding DUI that he deserved.

    I’ll share that I once did something very much like what Mr. Stokowski did. Some of the details were different, but ultimately I also reached in to a vehicle through the driver-side window to turn off a drunk’s car (fortunately, I was successful before the drunk could attempt to accelerate). The drunk in my case was actually asleep at the wheel while waiting in traffic at an intersection when I approached him. This was after he had just brushed my elbow with his side mirror less than a minute earlier as I was biking in the bike-designated area of Milwaukee Ave. My close call was too much for me to let go–I didn’t want to see this drunk, half-asleep jerk hurt or kill someone. It was broad daylight and there were pedestrians & cyclists all over Milwaukee. His next .5 miles could have taken a life or seriously injured some innocent person, so I opted for direct, immediate action to protect my fellow people from this free radical. I was successful, and another pedestrian assisted when the drunk was arguing with me for his keys back. I also informed the police immediately following my incident.

    I’m not telling anyone what they should do if they found them self in a similar situation, but I am going to say that, based on the evidence in John’s article, what Mr. Stokowski did was truly an self-less, heroic act.

  • BlueFairlane

    I agree that Mr. Stokowski’s actions were self-less, and taken with the interests of the public at heart. Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent the driver from continuing to put others at risk. It’s a tragedy all around.

  • ohsweetnothing

    It really takes a lot for me to not save all of these sorts of tragic articles and link dump as a reply to people that rant about scofflaw cyclists and the like. I don’t think it would help facilitate any discussion, so I never would follow through on the urge…but the potential catharsis is always tempting.

  • cjlane

    When I have known people to do these sorts of things, it has always been a dual purpose–safety of other AND keeping the driver from getting a dui–most often the folks knew each other.

    Not saying that’s the case here, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were, and that probably makes it even worse.

  • Gregory Curtis

    Call 911 should it be friend, family or whatever. Don’t take these situations into your own hands. Your life is not worth it.

  • Lisa Curcio

    Perhaps I am being incredibly suspicious, but it seems odd that this fell right off the front page so quickly.

  • Other_Fred

    I really hate to have do this, but in case you were wondering, I am “that” Fred, the guy up there is a different Fred. Just want to clear any confusion.

  • oooBooo

    Good intentions aside, from the accused drunk’s point of view, provided they didn’t know each other, Stokowski took actions that aren’t particularly distinguishable from those of someone wishing to commit a robbery. Now if the driver were really drunk he’d be even less likely to know the difference between a robbery and a good deed.

    Calling this a pedestrian death is padding the numbers too. If someone does a TJ Hooker intentionally to stop someone that’s not anything like getting run down in a crosswalk.

  • oooBooo

    There’s a definite hard definition of running a stop sign or red light too. About the only thing open to interpretation is ‘as far right as practicable’. But that is settled by the bicyclist making that call.

    There’s a lot of made up ideas some drivers have, but the written law is quite clear.

  • BlueFairlane

    You know what? Trying to use this incident to score internet points in a much earlier discussion about a much more innocuous topic was at the very least unseemly on the part of the initial poster, though my urge is to use stronger language. Continuing it doesn’t help. I’m not going to play anymore on this one.

  • Jamesdan

    Yes, being too drunk to know if someone is robbing you totally excuses driving drunk and fleeing the scene of a hit and run. Nice try, unidentified 42 year old man.

  • Future-Mrs.Stokowski

    Shane was an amazing man trying to do the right thing. Most people look the other way. Yes, Maybe he should have called 911, as that is what you would have done. But he couldn’t just stand by and watch this guy drive away to harm others.
    As you stand by your statement, I grieve the loss of my sweet fiancé.
    Thank you for you comments and support though.

  • BlueFairlane

    I think we can all say that your fiance did a very brave thing, and that his loss makes Chicago a lesser place. My heart goes out to you.

    Edit: And I want you to know, the statement Fred quoted above was a comment in a thread at least two weeks old talking about whether bicyclists confront other bicyclists about stop signs. It had nothing to do with your fiance.

  • neighbor

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Thank you for commenting. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your fiancé. It sounds like Shane was a terrific person.

    I previously posted suggesting commenters refrain from second guessing his actions, but I apologize if I should have been more forceful about this. Future comments of that nature will be deleted.

  • Jim Mitchell
  • oooBooo

    Who introduced bicycling? Not I. You made an argument. I countered it. mods delete my response and leave your rather offensive remark intact. But that’s the policy I find. http://www.streetsblog.org/about/comment-moderation-policy/

  • Guest

    A skilled reader would note that nothing was excused.

  • oooBooo

    A skilled reader would note that nothing was excused.

  • BlueFairlane

    If you want to have a conversation about an argument I’ve made, I suggest you look at the post and the context in which I made it rather than the unconnected post where Fred decided to cut & paste it.

    http://chi.streetsblog.org/2014/03/13/todays-headlines-279/

  • jim

    If you want to get all analytical, nobody will know about his point of view BECAUSE he was drunk. Terrible argument

  • jim

    “Some of the details were different” yeah maybe like you didn’t die