Sister of Chicago Skyway wrong-way crash victim speaks about her loss

An ABC7 Eyewitness News Exclusive

ByLiz Nagy WLS logo
Thursday, December 8, 2016
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Chicagoans were bundled up so tight Thursday it was hard to see people's faces. Wind chills were in the single digits.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mark Jacobs of Whiting, Ind., died Saturday after his car was hit head-on by another driver on the Chicago Skyway. Now his family is sharing their heartbreak.

Jacobs' sister was looking at the wreckage strewn across the inbound lanes of the Skyway in the middle of the night Sunday on her phone screen when she realized what had happened.

"First thing I saw was 'Skyway shut down after fatal accident.' My stomach just dropped and I clicked. It said a 50-year-old man had been killed in a Dodge Caravan and I knew it was him," Dawn Phillips said.

Jacobs was in the mangled caravan. He was on his way to work at Amtrak where he was a lead electrician.

Police radio broadcasts reveal that officers first got a call that a black Ford was driving the wrong direction on the Skyway near 83rd Street, followed by multiple calls reporting crashes. That black Ford hit Jacobs' car head-on.

"I can't comprehend how it happened. I don't know how he could have gotten on the road going the wrong direction. I don't know how he couldn't have realized," Phillips said.

An ambulance raced the 70-year-old driver - Charlie Gates, who is charged with a misdemeanor DUI - to Christ Hospital, but rescuers couldn't save Jacobs. Gates remains alive, in critical condition.

"It makes me very angry that he took my brother from all of us. My mom's having a really hard time with it. She keeps saying, 'You're not supposed to outlive your children,'" Phillips said.

Now Jacobs' family is left planning his funeral.

Gates is also charged with one count of driving the wrong way on a divided highway.