A longtime Chicago Tribune employee was killed Monday morning in a wrong-way crash on the Bishop Ford Freeway portion of Interstate 94.
In Ronnie Head's more than two decades with the company, where he worked as a press operator, the devoted family man missed only one day of work: last year's major Feb. 1 blizzard, his family said.
"He was an exemplary man, he was upbeat and always saw things positively. He saw a silver lining in every cloud," Becky Brubaker, senior vice president for manufacturing and distribution for the Tribune said in a statement. "He was reliable, just a terrific man. It's very tragic, you hear about this news and you just don't think about it being one of your work family."
Head, of Dolton, was driving his Honda northbound on the Bishop Ford Freeway near 122nd Street at about 4:30 a.m. when he was struck by a Chevrolet traveling the wrong way. The 54-year-old was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The driver of the Chevrolet was taken to Christ Hospital in serious condition, police said. Charges are pending.
Head's family said the father of two children always drove carefully and said something more needs to be done to prevent wrong-way crashes from happening.
"He said, 'You have to learn how to drive because what if you're in the car with mom and dad and you have an accident. What are you going to do?' So it just takes me aback that that's how he ended up losing his life," his sister, Yolanda Baggett, recalled Head telling her when they were younger.
Studies show the main common denominators in wrong way crashes are alcohol, night time driving and urban driving, the Illinois Department of Transportation told NBC Chicago back in February.
Those factors exist in Monday's crash. Police said a red plastic cup and a half-empty bottle of vodka were found in the car of the wrong-way driver.