Kevin William Benes

June 8, 1990 - December 11, 2009

It was Friday, December 11, 2009, when my 19 year old son Kevin was on his way home from working at St. Theresa Church in Palatine. He was exiting I-355 at 143rd St. at approximately 2:00pm when a Dodge Ram pick-up truck driven by a drunk driver went through a red light and crushed Kevin in his yellow Dodge Neon car. The pick-up truck hit Kevin's car on the driver's side door, pinning him in the now crushed car. Later, we found out that he was killed instantly. He was almost HOME! The crash occurred right in front of the Homer Glen Fire Department; rescuers heard the crash and were on the scene immediately doing all they could to get Kevin out of the crushed car surrounding him. Kevin was rushed to Silver Cross Hospital. His I.D. was not on him, but it was somewhere in the car, and the hospital only had a cell phone to try to identify Kevin. The hospital called the home number on the cell phone, reaching my son Matt. Matt was told they had someone at the hospital with this cell number, and Matt told them it was his brother Kevin, and he gave them my cell phone number. Matt didn't know details of what had happened, so he called his aunt Sue (my sister), who lives in Orland Park nearby. Immediately, Sue left for the hospital to be with Kevin, her godson.

I was on my way home from an appointment when my cell phone rang. It was Silver Cross Hospital, calling to tell me they had someone at the hospital that was involved in a crash but didn't have an I.D. They asked me to describe Kevin, and asked his age, birthday and his full name and said "get here right away. We are working on him!" My body went numb, and I was shaking and crying the whole way to the hospital. I felt it was really bad, but was praying he would be ok. It would take me at least 30 minutes to get there. My sister Karen called my cell, she found out something was happening and told me Sue was on her way to the hospital and would be there soon. I was relieved someone would be with Kevin until I got there. Karen continued to help me get to the hospital giving me directions and calming me down, but I couldn't think of anything but getting to Kevin in his time of need. That was the hardest part at that time, because I knew Kevin was hurt, and I just wanted to hold him, but couldn't get there fast enough.

When I arrived at Silver Cross Hospital, they were waiting for me. My sister Sue was there in a room, but they wouldn't let her go to Kevin until I arrived. We waited for the doctor to come and let us know of Kevin's condition. When the doctor came in, I just knew he was gone, but I was still hoping. She told us they did everything they could but couldn't save Kevin. Oh, the moment was devastating! It couldn't be! NOT MY CHILD! She took us to see Kevin and identify him (they still were not sure it was Kevin). It was my son; it's still unbelievable, such a strong, loving young man is now gone.

Our family is devastated by the tragic loss of Kevin, our bright boy, our hope for the future. Why did this happen? Someone, the driver of the pick-up truck, another Homer Glen resident CHOSE to drive under the influence of alcohol…yes, at two in the afternoon. He also has a history of previous driving violations! Two of which were DUI's!! Kevin is dead, because of him and his actions and negligence.

Nineteen years, six months, and three days is the time we were given with Kevin. This time filled with fun and laughter, family and friends, but most of all, love. Kevin found special ways to share his love with us all. Using practical jokes and loving sense of humor. Kevin would find us with small grins and leave us with widened smiles and full of laughter. Kevin was an awesome big brother to Matt, Amy and Jillian. He was always up for some competition with Matt and loved to tease his little sisters. He would do anything for his younger brother and sisters. Kevin was a caring person, as he showed up whenever help or support was needed. He enjoyed fixing things, often helping his dad around the house, and anyone who needed him to build or fix something big or small Kevin would be there. We can still feel the care from his helping hands.

Kevin was a responsible man. Kevin was a third generation electrician. He followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, three uncles, and cousin. He joined the electrician's union and was on time to the job each morning. He put away his checks to save up for his dream car; an orange Mustang. He came home from work to a house full of little ones. He would put his lunchbox down and tend to the children I care for each day. With Kevin's strong arms and heart, anything was possible. He lifted the children up to our basketball hoop so they could make a basket themselves. With Kevin around, infants could make slam-dunk's. During the winter, Kevin would bring snowballs to the little ones in their highchairs, so they, too, could experience each season to the fullest. In truth, Kevin not only lived each season to the fullest, but each day.

Kevin was with us for 19 years, six months, and three days. However, the only way we can measure his life is with love; the love he gave us then and the love we still feel from him now.

I am blessed with overwhelming support from my family and friends, and to all who took care of Kevin. I THANK YOU! A special thank you to Mr. Ryan (one of earth's angels) for rushing to Kevin's aid at the scene of the crash, holding Kevin and praying with him until the EMTs arrived. This brought a grieving mother comfort knowing someone held Kevin when she couldn't.

Our lives are forever changed without Kevin. Kevin is no longer here to hold and hug. I now just have the memories and pictures of my wonderful boy. I look at his picture, his beautiful eyes and smile and know he is with us, but in a different way. I look for signs around me, like the orange Mustang, his dream car, passing us by on the road, or the picture that hung on a cabinet full of all my children's grammar school art work that fell in front of me on the Saturday evening before Mother's Day. It was an art project from Kevin's 4th grade, a picture of Kevin with a decorated boarder and the words "Happy Mother's Day Mom!" written across the top. I knew then he was with me in my heart, "KEVIN, IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER!"

Marilyn Benes (mother)

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