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updated: 12/14/2012 6:46 PM

Father pleads for driver who killed son to come forward

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  • Tefera Beyene appeals to the person whose vehicle struck his son, Mikias Tibebu, to come forward. At left is Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebl.

       Tefera Beyene appeals to the person whose vehicle struck his son, Mikias Tibebu, to come forward. At left is Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebl.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Tefera Beyene appeals to the person whose vehicle struck his son to come forward.

       Tefera Beyene appeals to the person whose vehicle struck his son to come forward.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer


The family of Mikias Tibebu is offering $10,000 to anyone who comes forward with information leading to an arrest related to the hit-and-run accident that killed their 18-year-old son early Saturday morning.

"Our heart is broken, our family is devastated," said Tibebu's father, Tefera T. Beyene, at a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Schaumburg police station. "What a great person he was. This is very tragic for us."

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Schaumburg police continue to investigate the accident that killed the Schaumburg High School student and said Thursday they don't have any confirmed leads on who hit Tibebu at 12:38 a.m. Saturday.

However, police are now saying that Tibebu was lying in the roadway when he was hit, according to Sgt. John Nebl.

Tibebu was apparently spending time with three teammates from the Schaumburg cross country team a few minutes before the accident, but police don't know how he wound up alone and lying in the street at the intersection of Schaumburg Road and Branchwood Drive. Friends told police that when they last saw Tibebu, a few minutes before the accident, he was physically and mentally fine.

He could have fallen or suffered a sudden medical issue, Nebl said. The Cook County medical examiner found his cause of death was consistent with injuries from being run over with a car.

Tibebu was the oldest of four siblings and had immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia as a young boy. He was laid to rest with a funeral in Chicago on Wednesday, and a memorial service was planned for Thursday night at Schaumburg High School.

Beyene said he talked to his son around 11:30 p.m. that night and asked if he needed to be picked up, but Tibebu told him he would get home on his own. The area where Tibebu was struck was about 2 miles from his Schaumburg home, but it is not clear if that is where he was walking, police said.

Two nurses and several other drivers stopped to call 911 and attempt CPR, but Tibebu was declared dead by paramedics on the scene around 1 a.m. Running shoes, stuffed animals, candles and flowers has been placed at the scene by friends to honor Tibebu's memory.

Police said they have ruled out the idea that Tibebu was "car surfing" -- a dangerous trend in which teens stand on top of a moving vehicle.

Police said there was no video surveillance directly showing the intersection where Tibebu was hit, but they are analyzing other video from areas east and west of the area to try to identify how many and what types of vehicles drove through near the time of the accident.

Further tests from the Cook County medical examiner's office will take several weeks.

Nebl said that the person driving the vehicle might not have know that he or she had struck a person, but it would be clear that the driver hit something, so police are still asking anyone with possible information to come forward as soon as possible.

"It will be better if they come forward on their own rather than us showing up at their doorstep," Nebl said.

Anyone with information can call the Schaumburg Police Department, or call the Cook County Crime Stoppers anonymously at (800) 535-7867.

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