Miguel A. Agustin Tellez, 35, told his fiancee, Lorena Lopez, he had to pay an insurance bill in Elgin Tuesday, but would return home back shortly.
"He never came back," Lopez said through tears Wednesday.
Authorities said that Tellez, of Carpentersville, was the victim in a crash caused by a parolee fleeing Elgin police.
He was killed late Tuesday afternoon when his Mazda MPV was struck at Jefferson and Liberty streets in Elgin.
Tellez, the oldest of seven children and the only son, planned on marrying Lopez in December. The couple met at Carpentersville Bethel New Church, where he sang and played guitar and piano, friends and family members said. They had been dating since February 2013, and he treated her 8-year-old son, Osbiel, as his own, Lopez said.
"He loves so much my son," she said, adding that her son uses a wheelchair. "He always helped me to care for him."
Tellez, who had no children, worked as a painter and was known as the neighborhood handyman, said Tina Vega, a family friend through the church. He was an honorable, happy and polite man who found Christ after getting into trouble with alcohol, she said.
"When he received Jesus, it was all about church and family until the day he died," Vega said of the self-taught musician. "We believe that now he sings to the Lord."
Police say Steven Luellen, 34, of the 300 block of Jefferson Street in Elgin, was behind the wheel of a 2011 Nissan Maxima that was headed east on Jefferson, ran a stop sign and slammed into Tellez's minivan.
Tellez was pronounced dead at Advocate Sherman Hospital. Luellen was taken to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates for serious, but not life-threatening, injuries, police said.
Luellen was on parole for an aggravated fleeing and eluding police conviction in 2012 and has been to jail at least eight times since 2003, according to Kane County court records.
Luellen's passenger, Josette Jarvis, 35, of the 300 block of Griswold Street in Elgin, was taken to Sherman, where she remained Wednesday in critical condition with internal injuries, said Elgin police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault.
Luellen may have broken bones in his lower body, such as his legs or ankles, and is still hospitalized. He is in serious but stable condition, Theriault said.
Just before the crash, Elgin officers tried to stop Luellen because he was wanted on a state parole violation warrant, police said.
Police broke off their chase after Luellen fled at a "high rate of speed," but they found the Maxima four blocks later after the crash, authorities said.
Theriault said investigators are still working the case and charges might be filed Thursday.
According to court records, Luellen had been in and out of jail since 2003, when he was first arrested on charges of battery in Carpentersville.
He had misdemeanor arrests on charges of retail theft, obstructing justice, resisting arrest and domestic battery before being charged with felony burglary.
Luellen was found not guilty of an August 2010 break-in in Elgin but was sentenced to 30 months in prison for aggravated fleeing and eluding of police in July 2012, records show.
In that case, an Elgin officer pulled over Luellen because his car didn't have a registration sticker, but he took off, hitting speeds of 55 mph in residential areas, jumping curbs and running over sidewalks before abandoning his 2005 Buick LaCrosse, according to a police report. He was eventually caught hiding behind a shed on the 700 block of Highland Avenue with a metallic crack pipe, the report said.
With time off for good behavior, he was released after serving half his sentence but was soon wanted for the parole violation after being charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery in Elgin from a Feb. 16, 2014, incident, records show.
Meanwhile, Tellez's family and friends cried and comforted each other Wednesday evening as they mourned the loss of a man they said always smiled and was deeply devoted to his faith.
"He was a great man," said Tellez's sister Noemi, 22. "This was a big surprise for me, I wasn't prepared to hear this but I'm happy because I know that he is in the place he was wanting to be, in heaven with God almighty. And that's what keeps my head up."
Tellez's wake will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Barrington United Methodist Church at Algonquin Road and Route 59 in Barrington Hills. His funeral is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, also at the church.
Anyone with information about the crash should call (847) 289-2661.