Motorcyclist killed in Bishop Ford crash after watching Bears game; suspect arrested for DUI

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A motorcyclist was killed in a hit-and-run crash on the Bishop Ford Freeway in Chicago Friday morning and a driver has been arrested for DUI, Illinois State Police said.

The crash occurred in the inbound Bishop Ford at 111th Street just before 2 a.m. Police said the motorcyclist was struck and killed by a car and the driver of the car did not stop.

The motorcycle driver, a 42-year-old man, was transported to Roseland Hospital and later died. Friends identified him as Eric Smith.

Smith was watching the Bears game Thursday night, his friends said, and was on his way home at the time of the crash.

Smith's girlfriend KaSandra Hunt was driving her SUV in front of him when Smith was rear-ended by a driver. Hunt said Smith was worried about his motorcycle running out of gas, so they were going 25 miles per hour with their hazard lights on.

"I heard a loud boom, like three booms," she said. "I looked and I didn't see his headlight anymore. So I literally put my SUV in reverse."

"I kept talking to him. I kept asking him to pull through," said Hunt. "I kept asking to be alright. I told him he was going to make it, he was going to be OK. There were probably going to be some injuries, but he was going to be fine. He never said anything."

The driver of the car, also a 42-year-old man, was later taken into custody at 103rd Street and Stony Island Avenue, police said. Police have not released the driver's name and no charges have yet been filed. Police said the driver was taken to the hospital as well, with minor injuries.

Smith's motorcycle wasn't just a hobby; it was a way of life for him and Hunt. She said Smith was adventurous, fun, loving and always had a smile on his face. She said Friday was the worst day of her life.

Members of the Chosen Breed Motorcycle Club, to which Smith and Hunt both belong, gathered at the hospital where he died. The bond between bikers runs deep.

"It's just hard to believe a drunk driver hit him and tried to get away," said Percy Hope, Smith's friend.

"It makes me angry because things like this don't have to happen," said Tommie Triplett, member of the Chosen Breed Motorcycle Club. "You know, we gotta be more responsible out there."

Smith was the father of two daughters and a son. The shelf in his home that displays their pictures also reflects his love of the Bears, biking and cigars.

Smith, who was nicknamed "40" by his devoted friends, will be greatly missed. They're remembering him as an all-around good guy.

"If you wanted a laugh, he was the one," Triplett said. "And that he loved riding his motorcycle. He was the best rider that we had."

"He's the most amazing person I ever me for me, and I can never have him back," Hunt said.

The members of the motorcycle club are following the investigation closely, to make sure charges, if filed, reflect Smith's death. They also said it's a safety lesson for the general public, to give motorcyclists enough distance and space.

Two lanes of the inbound Bishop Ford Freeway were closed for the police investigation and have reopened.
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