US Marine sergeant struck, killed by pickup truck while changing tire on Stevenson Expressway

Eric Horng Image
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
US Marine sergeant struck, killed while changing tire on I-55
US Marine Sergeant Nikolas Hutto was killed in an I-55 crash at Cicero Avenue on Sunday night.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Marine Sergeant Nikolas Hutto served four tours in the Middle East.

His family's fears for his safety then are realized, tragically, now.

"I was worried that I would have to feel this way years ago, but now, now it's happened," said Jeffery Hutto, Nik's father.

Nik's parents are among those heartbroken after the 28-year-old Tinley Park resident was killed Sunday evening after being struck by a vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 55.

"A lot of waves of emotion, you know, the happy memories, and then the reality sets in that we're not going to have any more of those," said Tammy Hutto, Nik's mother.

Relatives say Nik had just left the Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center, and was headed to the suburbs with friends for deep-dish pizza when he hit a pot hole on the Stevenson Expressway. While he changed a tire, Illinois State Police said, the driver of a pickup left the road, hitting and killing Nik and injuring his two friends.

He was weeks away from proposing

His death has been devastating to his Marine Corps brothers.

"I'll always remember every time I hugged him, every time he stayed at my house, every time we slept in the same room in the barracks, and I'm just honored to meet him," said Jeremy Eckert, Nik's friend.

Relatives say Nik, a Florida native, moved to the south suburbs a few months ago to be with his girlfriend after completing his military service in 2020.

"He was weeks away from proposing. They just bought a house in September," Jeffery said.

Last May, Nik was a keynote speaker at the Palos Heights Memorial Day remembrance and spoke of friends killed overseas and the importance of sacrifice.

"He was just the most selfless person. Talk about giving your shirt off your back," Jeremy said.