CHICAGO — Friends and family are mourning the loss of a father of three after a hit-and-run crash on the Bishop Ford early Friday.
42-year-old Eric Smith, of Calumet Heights, and his girlfriend KaSandra Hunt were watching the Bears game with friends Thursday night.
“We had so much fun watching the Bears game, cracking jokes,” she said. “It was a night of nothing but laughs.”
But the evening took a tragic turn on the way home.
Hunt drove her SUV while Smith rode his motorcycle down the Bishop Ford freeway around 2 a.m. Friday.
Smith needed to stop for gas, so they slowed down and turned their hazard lights on.
“I looked in my rearview mirror and I remember seeing his headlight and I was like, ‘Ok he’s there,’” Hunt said. “And then I just heard a huge crash and when I looked back I didn’t see him.”
State troopers said a drunk driver hit Smith on I-94 at 111th Street. Smith was thrown off his motorcycle.
“The car that allegedly hit him actually sped past me on my left side on three wheels,” Hunt said.
Police said the driver fled the scene after the crash, but was caught by police at 103rd Street and Stony Island.
The driver was taken into custody. Charges are pending.
Hunt stopped as emergency crews responded to the scene.
“There were just fragments of motorcycle,” Hunt said. “And I found him in the mud in a ditch and I held him and he kind of let out a breath and sort of went limp.”
Smith was taken to Roseland Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“He was just all around a great guy,” Hunt said. “That’s why he had so many friends and people who loved him because his spirit was just amazing. It’s hard but he was a great person and it’s better to have known him than not.”
Smith leaves behind three kids ages 21, 16 and 9. He worked at the City of Chicago's Aviation Department at O'Hare Airport. He was also a member of the Chozen Breed Motorcycle Club.
Family and friends are working on plans for a memorial.