Man Dragged, Killed After Leaning into SUV to Stop Drunken Driver: Charges
WEST TOWN — A man who leaned into a drunken driver's SUV to stop him from driving away from a Chicago tavern was instead dragged down the street by the driver and killed, prosecutors said.
Shane Stokowski, 33, followed a stranger — Timothy McShane — out of the Aberdeen Tap in the West Town neighborhood Saturday afternoon to try to stop him from driving away, prosecutors said.
McShane, who has a history of DUI arrests, had been cut off by the bartender for being too drunk, Assistant State's Attorney Dan Griffin said.
Stokowski, who was planning to get married in October, was drinking with friends at a table, while McShane was with a friend at another table in the bar at 458 N. Aberdeen, prosecutors said.
After McShane was cut off and left, Stokowski followed him outside because he "believed he was too drunk to drive," Griffin said.
Instead, McShane got into the driver's seat of his girlfriend's SUV, backed into several cars outside the bar and tried to drive off, Griffin said. He then smashed into at least one more car, Griffin said.
That's when Stokowski leaned into the car through the driver's side window to try to get McShane to stop, Griffin said. But McShane drove away, with Stokowski hanging from the window, said Griffin.
Stokowski was thrown from the SUV three-quarters of a block later, the prosecutor said. He hit his head and died a short time later from the head trauma.
McShane drove off, Griffin said.
McShane contacted authorities about 9:30 p.m. after a friend tipped him off that police were looking for him, according to a police report.
When police found him at his girlfriend's house, McShane was "obviously intoxicated," the report states.
He told arresting officers that Stokowski had attacked him and that he feared for his life, police said.
On the way to the police station, McShane "talked nearly nonstop," according to the report. No official statement was taken by police because of McShane's perceived level of intoxication.
"He stated he thought the victim had tried to rob [and] beat him, and he acted in self-preservation," an arresting officer wrote in the police report.
McShane claimed to have marks on his neck from the incident, though police observed no sign of injury, the report states.
At 1:06 a.m. Sunday — more than eight hours after he left the bar — McShane's blood-alcohol level was .225 percent, nearly three times the legal limit to drive, prosecutors said.
McShane, a 42-year-old construction worker from Park Ridge, was charged early Tuesday with one count of aggravated DUI causing death, one count of failure to report an accident and one count of reckless homicide, all felonies.
McShane also was charged with two counts of driving on a suspended license, a misdemeanor.
During a brief court hearing Tuesday, Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan ordered him held on $350,000 bail.
Stokowski, of the 1100 block of West Belmont Avenue, died at 5:18 p.m. Saturday, according to the Cook County medical examiner.
Stokowski was to be married Oct. 18. An online obituary said that Stokowski enjoyed biking, playing guitar, traveling, basketball and dancing.
"He was the light of our lives and did not know a stranger. He is probably having a dance-off in heaven," the obituary said.
He was a member of St. Philomena Catholic Church in Peoria, and he volunteered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for many years, according to the obituary.
Prosecutors said McShane had two previous DUIs, one in 1993 for which he received court supervision, and another in 2006 in which he pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was sentenced to conditional discharge, a form of nonreporting probation.