Schiller Park

Man Killed in Schiller Park Christmas Day Hit-and-Run Remembered

The vehicle believed to have struck Benak was "recovered with fire damage" at approximately 4:45 a.m. Sunday in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood,

A man who was killed in a hit-and-run on Christmas Day in Schiller Park is being remembered as a kind and positive person who made "everyone feel welcome."

Emil Benak was struck by a hit-and-run driver at approximately 9:49 p.m. in the 9400 block of Irving Park Road, authorities said. He was taken to an area hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead approximately 40 minutes later.

Benak was crossing Irving Park Road, heading to the nearby Sway Bar from his condominium, when he was struck by a vehicle.

"A few of our regular patrons they ran across the street to check up on the individual that was struck, and one of the patrons happened to recognize it was our friend Emil," said longtime friend Swaten Gabhawala and owner of Sway Bar.

Following the crash, family and friends were left processing exactly what happened and how someone could do such a thing to their loved one.

"He always reminded me how much he loved me, how much he appreciated, the bar and what it’s done for him, but I would say that he’s done tenfold more for me and the business and the bar just being him and that I love him."

The vehicle believed to have struck Benak was described as a Volvo S60 and "recovered with fire damage" at approximately 4:45 a.m. Sunday in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood, police said.

NBC 5 has learned the car was not reported stolen, and investigations on Sunday were waiting to obtain a search warrant to begin processing the vehicle for evidence.

Anyone with additional information was asked to contact the Schiller Park Police Dept. at 847-678-4794.

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