Bicyclist struck, killed by car on West Side; Hector Avalos, 28, hit on West Side; driver being questioned, alcohol possible factor

December 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The driver stayed on the scene and was taken into custody. Police say alcohol was probably a factor.

Ingrid Cossio says she and her 28-year-old son Hector Avalos were very close. He spent a lot of time with his mother and two younger siblings since his active duty in the marines ended a few years ago.

He loved to cook and after graduating culinary school he started working at El Hefe Restaurant in River North.

That's where he was last night before riding home on his bike. He never made it.

He was hit by a car in the 2500 block of West Ogden just before midnight.

"It's one of those things where you say goodbye to someone and they go off doing the same thing they do every day and something tragic happens," said El Hefe general manager Justin Massei.

The driver stayed on the scene and was taken into custody.

His family says Avalos loved to ride his bike. He loved the outdoors. They say he was tired after leaving work Friday night and told co-workers he was considering taking the train home instead.

But he ultimately decided to ride home. It was his favorite form of transportation.

"He felt free riding it, he felt freedom. He loved it," Cossio said.

His Christmas stocking still hangs on the wall with those of his co-workers.

El Hefe opened about six months ago and Avalos was among the first people hired as a line cook.

Many of his co-workers were too upset to work and left early when they learned of his death.

"Hector was a great guy," Massei said. "Us being in a new town, only being out here six months, he was one of the guys who was very welcoming to us. Busted his butt every day at work. Put in his hours, he was a great chef. Great guy."

Chicago Police continue to question the driver. They say they believe alcohol was involved but they have not yet filed charges.

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