April 13, 2006

My Friend Dave

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 8:22 pm

My friend Dave – college pal and roommate, and good friend since then – was killed yesterday evening in a motorcycle accident.

We got a message on our answering machine from Dave’s mom, who said she had “bad news” about Dave. In the time it took to get a hold of them to find out what had happened, we found an article at the Chicago Tribune’s website (below).

A friend of his had recently bought a new motorcycle, and Dave – who’d taken the motorcycle classes and got his license and all a while ago – was interested in buying his old one. It sounds like he was test-driving it when he crashed into a tree in a residential area. It’s not clear at this point what caused the accident.

His friend found Dave’s cellphone, and called his parents. His parents arrived at the hospital about 45 minutes after he was pronounced dead.

His parents had kind of adopted us over the years, and we them. Apart from my own, I know two phone numbers by heart: my mom’s and Dave’s parents’. Probably because I called Dave there so many times in the days before your phone remembered the numbers for you, but still.

Dave got into stunt kites with me in college. We divided our summer free time among flying, messing around with our cars, and hanging out at a local restaurant, eating greasy (and delicious) hamburgers, drinking fru-fru ice cream drinks, and trying to make friends with the bartenders.

We helped each other move from our burned-down house to sublet my sister’s place for the summer after college. Then I helped him move back home, and he helped me pack for my next place. He helped us move back north from South Carolina, and visited us a few times a year in Ohio. All the while, he’s lived in Illinois. Plenty far enough away to not bother with such things. You know how all your friends are suddenly busy when it comes time for you to move? Yeah – not Dave. He goes hundreds of miles out of his way to help.

We’d always stop by his place for an afternoon or evening when in Illinois for other purposes. He’d mail me a frozen stuffed pizza from Carmen’s (my favorite little pizza place in Chicago) for my birthday most years. On the other years, he’d send me a Portillo’s gift pack of Chicago-style hot dogs with all the stuff. I’m big on the food, and he took care of me.

In my 100 things about a blogger post, where I said I don’t have many friends — maybe it would have been more truthful to say, “I have Dave.”

Dave’s birthday is this coming monday.

I can’t believe it. Not yet.

Here’s the text of the Tribune article:

A 33-year-old man was killed when his motorcycle struck a tree in southwest suburban Evergreen Park, police said this morning.

The accident occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when the biker was making a right turn onto Washtenaw Avenue from 90th Street, an Evergreen Park police spokesman said.

The bike hit a tree on the west side of Washtenaw, throwing the biker.

The victim, David Zielinski, of the 800 block of Symphony Drive in Aurora, was pronounced dead at 5:17 p.m. Wednesday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The police spokesman did not know whether Zielinski was wearing a helmet or what caused the accident.

Dave would snicker at seeing himself described as “a biker.”

Here’s the article, if you’re registered at the Tribune’s site.


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