Robert E. Gillen, 53, of Palatine, died on December 10, 2023, after his vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver near Palatine Road and Wheeling Road in Wheeling, officials said. | Provided Photo

Charges have been filed against a driver accused of driving drunk and traveling the wrong way, striking another vehicle head-on and killing a longtime Wauconda High School teacher.

The incident happened around 2:15 a.m. on December 10 near Palatine Road and Wheeling Road in Wheeling.

Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen said the collision occurred in the westbound lanes of Palatine Road just east of Wheeling Road.

An investigation conducted by Wheeling police crash investigators and the Northwest Suburban Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction team showed Guillermo Salgado, 28, of Palatine, was driving a Toyota Camry.

The Toyota traveled eastbound and entered the westbound lanes of Palatine Road at Wheeling Road against the flow of traffic, Steffen said.

Salgado exceeded the posted speed limit and continued eastbound before striking a Ford Edge, Steffen said.

The Ford, driven by Robert E. Gillen, 53, of Palatine, was struck head-on by Salgado’s vehicle.

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Both vehicles involved had two occupants inside. Gillen was pronounced dead on the scene.

Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 Superintendent Dr. David Wilm said Gillen was a math teacher and athletic trainer at Wauconda High School.

“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,” Wilm said in a statement earlier this month.

Gillen had 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,” Wilm said.

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An obituary for Gillen said he was an avid sports fan of the Bears, Cubs and Bulls and a former longtime honor caddy at a country club. He leaves behind his wife and dog.

Salgado was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence causing a fatal crash.

Steffen said Salgado’s blood alcohol content was higher than the legal limit of 0.08 at the time of the crash.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office filed a petition to detain Salgado pending trial following his arrest.

Cook County Judge Sauceda denied the petition on Thursday and released Salgado from custody. He was placed on electronic monitoring and home confinement.

Salgado is scheduled to appear in court again on January 26.