Suspected drunk driver kills Wauconda High School teacher in head-on Wheeling crash: police

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, December 11, 2023
Suspected drunk driver kills suburban teacher in head-on crash: police
Wauconda High School teacher Bob Gillen was killed in a head-on Wheeling car crash on East Palatine Road, officials said.

WHEELING, Ill. (WLS) -- Our coverage has moved here.

A high school teacher was killed in a head-on collision Sunday morning in north suburban Wheeling, and the driver who caused it is suspected of DUI, police said.

Police said the crash happened at 2:15 a.m. on East Palatine Road near Wheeling Road.

A suspected intoxicated driver was traveling eastbound on Palatine Road when they traveled into the westbound lanes, striking an oncoming vehicle and killing its driver.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office later identified the man who died as 53-year-old Robert E. Gillen. Wauconda Community Unit School District #118 said he was a math teacher at Wauconda High School.

The district issued a statement, saying, "The Wauconda District 118 community is saddened by the unexpected passing of Bob Gillen, a dedicated Math teacher, athletic trainer, and colleague. We join Bob's family, students, staff, and community members in grieving this tragic loss.

Bob has been an active member of the Wauconda High School community since 1996. He dedicated his time to the education of students, the care of athletes, and the growth of colleagues. He loved helping others and was committed to fostering a positive environment for all. Bob leaves a lasting legacy, and his loss will be felt throughout our community.

We are encouraging our students, staff, and community to reach out and check in if they need any additional support while navigating this loss."

Two people were inside each vehicle, and one person other than Gillen was seriously injured, police said.

Wheeling police and the Northwest Suburban Major Case Assistance Team's Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Unit are investigating the crash.

A letter from the district expressed condolences to Gillen's family, and said grief counselors will be available at the school tomorrow.

Further information was not immediately available.