The city of Geneva is mourning the loss of the city's electrical superintendent, Michael Buffington, who was killed Thursday night in an automobile accident at Interstate 88 and Route 47 in Sugar Grove.
City leaders and its police department have reached out to the Buffington family to provide assistance, according to a news release from the city. It says the city also has provided grief counselors for city employees.
The Geneva flag has been lowered to half-staff at all city facilities in Buffington's honor.
"With the sudden and unexpected loss of our co-worker and friend Mike Buffington, our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family," City Administrator Mary McKittrick said. "We are fortunate to have known and worked with him, and Geneva is a better place because of him. Mike was a gentle leader and one of the smartest people I've ever known. His loss will certainly be felt by our entire organization for a long time."
Buffington, 64, was on the eastbound exit ramp from I-88 to Route 47. According to Sugar Grove police, it appears his vehicle, a city-owned Ford Taurus, did not stop at a stop sign at the top of the ramp, while turning north on to Route 47.
His vehicle was hit on the driver's side by a Chevrolet TrailBlazer driven by a 46-year-old Sugar Grove woman. She and two occupants, ages 12 and 14, were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Sugar Grove Police Chief Patrick Rollins.
"We are devastated. Mike's service was exemplary, and his commitment to the community evident in the pride he had in his work," Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said Friday.
"Our thoughts are with his wife, Jaci, their children and grandchildren during this unimaginable time."
The Buffington family has not announced any service details at this time.
Buffington was president of the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, a cooperative agency formed by Geneva, Rochelle and Batavia for the purchase of electricity.
He joined the Geneva staff in November 2004. Before that, he was the electrical superintendent for Geneseo. He had also worked in Peru, near central Illinois, and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
His death leaves the city with two major positions to fill in its public works department. The department's director, Dan Dinges, is leaving June 19 to become the public works director in Bartlett.
The city's news release said it is expecting to make a leadership announcement about the Public Works Electric Division next week.