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updated: 4/13/2012 11:28 AM

Huntley fire captain killed in motorcycle crash

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  • Huntley Fire Capt. John C. Winkelman

      Huntley Fire Capt. John C. Winkelman

 
 

Huntley firefighters are mourning the loss of Cap. John C. Winkelman, who was killed in a motorcycle crash Thursday afternoon in Crystal Lake.

The 54-year-old captain from Marengo, who was known by everyone as "Winky," was riding his beloved 2007 Harley-Davidson west on Route 176 when a vehicle pulled out in front of him from Mt. Thabor Road, according to police. Winkelman struck the driver's-side door of the sedan and was thrown from the motorcycle about 3 p.m., said Crystal Lake police Cmdr. Dan Dziewior.

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Emergency crews found Winkelman unconscious at the scene and immediately began performing CPR. Paramedics continued performing CPR all the way to Centegra Memorial Medical Center in Woodstock, but Winkelman never regained consciousness, Dziewior said.

The 27-year-old Woodstock woman driving the Chrysler Concorde that pulled out in front of Winkelman saw him at the last second but could not avoid the collision, according to police.

"He was easygoing. I've never ever seen him mad," Huntley Fire District Batallion Chief Ken Caudle said late Thursday. "He always had a smile on his face no matter what was going on in the firehouse."

Winkelman is survived by his wife, Lynn, who is a dispatcher for the Harvard Police Department, and his two daughters. He was a 20-year veteran with the Huntley department after starting his career with the Marengo Rescue Squad.

"Everybody has heavy hearts," Caudle said. "He was definitely a fixture here in the firehouse and he will be greatly missed."

Police said the intersection where the crash occurred has been the site of a number of collisions, including another fatal crash in March 2010.

On Thursday afternoon, the driver of the Chrysler was attempting to cross Route 176 to Haligus Road, which is about 100 feet west of Mt. Thabor but runs north-south.

"There have been some crashes out there, but I think one of the factors that make this intersection different than any other 'T' or 4-way intersection is that there is a slight jog in the road," Dziewior said. "It's not a straight crossing on Route 176."

Police remained at the scene for about three hours after the crash taking measurements, and initial reports indicated that the motorcycle was not exceeding the 55 mph speed limit.

"There's not a great margin of error if you are traveling at that speed," Dziewior said.

Winkelman was not wearing a helmet when the crash occurred, according to police.

The driver of the Chrysler suffered minor injuries and was also taken to the hospital, police said.

Dziewior said that the Illinois Department of Transportation had been asked to reconfigure the intersection before, but he was unsure of any future plans.

"You can see quite a distance in either direction, but for some reason it has been the scene of previous fatalities as well," Dziewior said.

The accident remained under investigation late Thursday, and no citations had been issued.

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