Did anyone hear about this? :(
t was a cold, blustery late January evening with temperatures hovering below zero, but that didn’t stop Douglas DeMott from pedaling along Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park on his way home from his job, just as he had every work day for nearly three years.
He was like clockwork. No matter what the weather, DeMott could be found around 7 a.m. riding his bicycle south on Harlem Avenue or east on 191st Street, and then home again in the early evening.
But about 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24, he was struck and killed by a motorist as he made his way up Harlem Avenue.
Douglas Maurice DeMott, 52, of Palos Heights, had been riding home from at ProVisur in Mokena, where he had worked for nearly three years. As of Monday, no charges had been filed in the accident.
He resided with his sister Dione Stolarski and her husband, Lenny. His sister said he would put his bike on a Pace bus at 127th Street and travel to the end of that line at 183rd Street, then ride his bike the rest of the way to work. “He was just a couple of blocks from the bus stop on his return trip when he was hit.”
Bicyclist killed in crash with motorist in Tinley Park »
“Lenny and I had gotten home later than usual that day and when we pulled in the driveway, Lenny said, ‘That’s strange, the garbage cans are still out.’ Doug had always put the garbage cans away,” Stolarski said. “I started texting him because it was not like him at all to not be home without letting me know. He wasn’t answering my calls and I was getting worried.”
She soon began getting calls from all of the family and friends who had seen a television news report about the accident and were worried that it might be Doug. Her worst fears were confirmed when two police officers came to the door.
“We were told later that according to video footage of the accident, Doug was riding cautiously, was in the left lane, near the median, where he was supposed to be, and the lights on the front and rear of his bike were flashing, when he was struck.”
She said DeMott had never owned a car and never had a driver’s license, because he didn’t want one.
“He loved riding and he loved his bikes,” she said of his three bicycles. “They are not ordinary bikes — they are high-end styles and he was always working on them, keeping them in tip-top condition. The one he was riding on the day of the accident was his newest one. He had told me it was a heavier bike with special tires designed for winter riding.”
According to family members, friends and co-workers, DeMott was the kindest, sweetest and most generous man they knew.
On the night of his wake at Kerry Funeral Home in Palos Heights, windchill readings registered historic lows exceeding 50 below zero, but despite dire warnings from authorities to stay indoors, more than 200 people attended the wake including many of DeMotte’s co-workers from ProVisur.
“I was amazed at the number of our employees who, in spite of the weather, were there to honor Doug,” said Sonny Bordonado, his supervisor. “I believe the whole plant would have been there if the weather had not been so bad.”
Bordonado said DeMott was a genuinely nice and helpful person.
“He came in every day with a beautiful attitude, always pleasant and nice to everyone. He had a special way about him that endeared him to all our employees,” Bordonado said. “For instance, if you had a conversation with him about something, he would show up a couple of days later with a book for you on that particular subject.
He started at the company a few months before I did and even though I was his supervisor, he kind of took me under his wing and showed me what I needed to learn. He was meticulous about everything being done properly and he had a huge impact on the entire warehouse. He was never late, never called off work because of the weather; he rode his bike every day. I often would offer him a ride home when the weather was miserable, but he always refused. I could never understand how he could ride his bike through rain or snow.”
Bernado said one day last year there was an awful ice storm and 90 percent of the employees called off work.
“These were guys that had huge 4-wheel drive trucks. The only people who showed up that day were the managers. I walked into the warehouse and there sat Doug, ready for work. I couldn’t believe it.”
DeMott’s younger brother, Andrew DeMott, said his sibling was a “unique and very private man.”
“At the wake people were astounded to learn how creative, artistic and knowledgeable he was about many, many things,” he said. “We had some of his artwork on display and people commented they never knew he was an artist. He never mentioned it to anyone because he didn’t think his work was perfect. For him, everything had to be perfect.”
Doug DeMott’s teachers at Oak Lawn Community High School thought his work was excellent and they encouraged him to consider college or art school, his brother said, “but Doug never thought his work was good enough, so he did not pursue art school. But he never stopped being creative.”
“My brother also had his own unique perspective on things and I respected that about him," Andrew DeMott said. “If I was involved in conversation with someone strongly voicing their opinion about something I would never make a final decision about my own opinion, until I had talked to Doug about it. He was so knowledgeable. If he was interested in something, he would research it in depth. He was like an encyclopedia. I loved talking with him.
“This is a terrible, terrible loss. Neither my life, nor the life of our family will ever be the same. He will be greatly missed.”
"As of Monday, no charges had been filed in the accident."
Of course not... it was an "accident."
Such a comforting word, so anodyne... Any and all responsibility is completely removed, no one is to blame. No one could prevent it. No one needs to do anything, for there is nothing to be done. Move along now, there's nothing to be seen here...
i am sick and tired of reading about "accidents." Aren't you?
God yes. First of all, we need to stop using "accidentally" as a synonym for "unintentionally." And second of all, since so many people seem to get their shorts all twisted by the word "crash," then can we at least call these things "incidents" instead of "accidents"? "Incident" should have a sufficiently negative connotation, what with all the Incident Reports that usually need to be filed in a workplace whenever somebody screws up. Like, no, you did not "accidentally" spill acid all of yourself, you were careless and you broke the rules, and you know it.
i prefer "crash." i'd guess the only people with twisted shorts about that word would be drivers.
Alternatively, "collision" is an apt term. "Incident" is aacceptable.
It's long passed time to lose the word "accident."