Two Stagg alums die in motorcycle mishaps

  • Written by Jeff Vorva and Bob Rakow


Stagg math teacher John Daniels came to school Monday and found out the bad news that one of his former geometry students, Amy Reed, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Joliet the night before.

His day was about to get worse.
Daniels, who is also coach of the boys basketball team, found out that night that a former player of his, Giedrius Lisnicenka, was driving a motorcycle Monday night in Palos Hills and was killed in an accident.
“This is sad, man,” Daniels said on Tuesday. “These were two good kids. It’s crazy. Two Stagg kids in two days killed in motorcycle accidents. It’s tough being on a motorcycle.’’
The accidents capped off a six-day stretch of death, destruction and arrests affecting several people from the communities in the Reporter coverage area.
Lisnicenka’s accident happened in the late afternoon on Monday on La Grange Road near 111th Street. Police said he hit the back of a stopped vehicle on southbound La Grange Road at around 5 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn early Monday night.
The accident closed a portion of La Grange Road for approximately four hours, according to police.
Daniels said that Lisnicenka, 22, “lived at a different speed” than other students. He said his former player would always make him laugh. The coach also remembered having a heart-to-heart talk with Lisnicenka when the player opted to leave the basketball team in December, 2010 for family reasons.
“I offered to let him come back in a few weeks to get ready for the regionals,” Daniels said. “He said that he didn’t want to do that because it wouldn’t be fair to the other players. That’s the kind of kid he was.”
Less than 24 hours before that fatality, Reed was killed in Joliet on Sunday night when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger crashed through the brick wall of a building, Joliet police said.
Reed, 24, and Patrick Ortiz, 34, of Channahon, were killed when Ortiz’s Harley-Davidson jumped a curb and collided with the building, police said.
The motorcycle was traveling at a high-rate of speed on Barney Drive and jumped the curb at a T intersection at Glenwood Avenue.
Reed died in the emergency room at 9:27 p.m. and Ortiz died in the emergency room at 9:54 p.m. at Saint Joseph Medical Center, according to the Will County Coroner’s office.
Police do not believe Ortiz had been drinking.
In other news:
• Leah Wright of Palos Hills was found asleep while she was at the drive-thru of the Palos Hills Taco Bell, 7601 W. 111th Street last Thursday.

When she woke up, the real trouble began.
The 19-year-old was arrested by Palos Hills police and charged with two felony counts of drug possession and one count of resisting arrest. She was also cited for improper registration, not having a driver’s license and operating an uninsured vehicle.
• A Palos Hills woman was instrumental in helping Riverside police catch a hit and run driver.
The woman waved down a police in the 3200 block of Harlem Avenue at 7:32 p.m. last Thursday and said her car was hit by a pickup truck that left the scene, Riverside police said.
The woman said the truck changed lanes before rear ending her car. She provided police with a description of the driver as well as picture of the license plate.
Police located the owner of the truck at his home in Summit. He said his brother had driven the truck earlier in the day. A short time later, his brother, Pasqual Hernandez, 42, met with police and admitted to being in a minor accident that day. He said he left the scene because he needed to take his medication and forgot to call police to report the collision.
He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, speeding and driving on a revoked license, police said.
• In Worth, A Jeep Grand Cherokee last Wednesday crashed into Premier Mortgage Services, 7059 W. 111th St., police said.
The 5 p.m. crash resulted in damage to the office’s front windows and frame, according to reports.
Irtekaz M. Qoran, 30, of Worth, who is learning to drive, was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid and accident.
Qoran told police she has a driver’s permit. She said the person in the vehicle instructing her told her to pull over on 111th Street, but she hit the gas pedal rather than the brake, causing the SUV to jump to curb and hit the building, police said.
• An 18-year-old man was ordered held on $1 million bond last Thursday for allegedly setting up a drug deal that left an Oak Lawn man dead earlier this month near Midway International Airport, police said.
Giovanni Galindo, 24, of Oak Lawn, died at the scene after he was shot Sept. 5 during a fake drug deal in the 6100 block of South Kilpatrick Avenue, Rogers said.
Luis Alfaro was contacted by an acquaintance, who told Alfaro he planned to rob a drug dealer, prosecutors said. The acquaintance asked Alfaro to set up a drug deal and promised to give Alfaro marijuana in return for setting up the robbery, Rogers said.
Galindo died at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The robbers fled with the drugs and later gave Alfaro some of the cannabis as payment for setting up the deal, Rogers said.
Alfaro told police he set up the drug deal knowing about the robbery plan and was charged with first-degree murder despite not being at the scene, authorities said.
He will be back in court Oct. 7. The other suspects have not yet been charged, authorities said.
• Oak Lawn police, meanwhile, arrested a third man allegedly involved in an Aug. 20 home invasion in the 9200 block of Central Avenue.
Damion Larios, 22, of Chicago, on Friday appeared at the Bridgeview Courthouse and was charged with one count of home invasion. Bond was set at $500,000.
On August 20, Oak Lawn police responded to the home invasion in which three men reportedly entered the house and committed an armed robbery, police said.
The offenders fled and were followed into Burbank by one of the victims, who called 911 to update police on their location. Burbank police ultimately arrested two of the three male offenders, along with a female accomplice.