Officer killed in Lake Shore Drive crash

February 23, 2010 4:38:13 AM PST
Icy roads may have led to an early Monday morning crash that killed a Chicago police officer.

Sergeant Alan Haymaker was responding to a burglary call when his squad car went out of control and slammed into a light pole.

Sergeant Haymaker died at the hospital after being pinned in the vehicle. Haymaker had been on the force for 21 years.

The crash happened about 5 a.m. on Lake Shore Drive at the Irving Park Road exit.

A number of Haymaker's fellow officers and co-workers have been touched by his death. Most of those who knew him say they know two things about him. One, that he just loved helping people. The other, that he simply just loved being a cop.

A flag of mourning flying outside the CPD's 23rd Police District symbolizes the sadness felt over the death of veteran police Sergeant Alan Haymaker.

"Anytime you lose somebody like that it is never easy. It's been tough on everybody today," said one fellow officer.

Haymaker was on the job for more than 20 years and died Monday morning when his squad crashed into a light pole and tree along Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park as he responded to a burglary in progress call at a cell phone store.

Police officials say Haymaker was wearing a seatbelt when he was cut free from his squad car and that it appears weather was a factor in the crash.

"The crash is being investigated by the Chicago Police Department's major accidents investigation unit to determine the caused. According to eyewitness accounts, icy road conditions were a factor," said CPD Assistant Superintendent James Jackson

Moments after the 56-year-old was pronounced dead at an area hospital, dozens of his colleagues saluted as his body was placed in an ambulance. A procession of squad cars followed.

"We'd like to extend our condolences to the entire family," said Mayor Daley.

Haymaker was a third generation Chicago Police officer, like his grandfather, father and uncle before him. The father of three had been working out of the Town Hall Police District since December. He joined the Department in 1988 after working as an assistant pastor.

Haymaker's family says he was a serious man who loved music and brought a certain sensitivity to his police work.

As police continue to investigate the crash, officials say they are making some headway with the burglary that Haymaker was responding to when the crash happened.