A veteran Waukegan Public Schools teacher has been identified as the man who died after an SUV turned in front of his motorcycle in North Chicago Friday afternoon.
An autopsy performed Monday showed David Drower, 36, of Wheeling, died as a result of blunt force injuries from a vehicle crash, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
The North Chicago Police Department and North Chicago Fire Department responded around 3:30 p.m. Friday to the area of Route 137 and Route 41 in North Chicago for a vehicle crash with injuries.
Officers and fire department crews located the crash south of the intersection on Route 41 at Brompton Avenue in front of Uline.
The crash involved a white 2020 Land Rover Range Rover and a 2017 Honda Sport motorcycle in the southbound lanes.
Officers learned the Land Rover was traveling northbound on Route 41 and began making a U-turn to go southbound on Route 41.
The motorcycle had been traveling southbound on Route 41 in the right lane at the same time.
The Land Rover drove into the right lane of southbound Route 41 after making the U-turn, resulting in the motorcycle crashing into the rear of the SUV, officials said.
North Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Kim Schaefer said the motorcyclist had been ejected from his vehicle.
The driver of the motorcycle, later identified as Drower, suffered critical injuries.
Paramedics rushed him to Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room, Banek said.
No one in the Land Rover was injured and Drower was the sole occupant of the motorcycle, Schaefer said.
The Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT) was called to the scene to conduct a crash investigation.
All lanes of southbound Route 41 were shut down from Route 137 for several hours. Heavy traffic delays were reported in the northbound lanes.
Drower was a music teacher at Hyde Park Elementary School in Waukegan, according to the school’s principal Brian Carr.
Carr said in a message sent to parents of the school that Drower was a veteran teacher who positively impacted many students and families.
“We know this news is sudden and difficult for the entire Hyde Park community, particularly our students. During this time we are committed to providing support for our students as they cope and process their feelings,” Carr said.
Additional mental health staff are available at Hyde Park to meet with students.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Drower’s family, friends, and those close to him,” Carr said.
“Mr. Drower was very passionate about teaching music, STEM, Band, and helping our children, and we will always cherish everything he did for Hyde Park Elementary,” Carr added.
Drower was also part of the Second Hand Soul Band, which is a Chicago area group.
“We are completely devastated and our collective hearts are broken to let you know that The Sax Man, Dave Drower, was killed yesterday in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver,” Second Hand Soul Band said in a statement.
“We cannot begin to express the loss we feel and it’s going to take some time to process this. There is a huge piece of us missing,” the organization said.
The crash remains under investigation by the North Chicago Police Department and MCAT.