SOUTH CHICAGO — In Leana Sagere's last phone conversation with her fiancé, Andrew Prather, he told her he was looking forward to having dinner with her that April 21 night.
A few hours later, he was hospitalized in critical condition after witnesses said he was intentionally run over. Prather died four days later.
Prather had been called to his mother's house that day after a brick was thrown through her window, his family said. According to police, an argument later broke out between Prather and an unidentified individual.
"It all stemmed from that brick," his fiancée, Leana Sagere, said from their South Chicago home.
The 26-year-old was later chased down a street in Roseland and fatally run over by a vehicle, police said — though little of what transpired between those moments is known. Police said no one is in custody.
What Sagere knows it that her fiancé wasn't looking for trouble.
"He went alone," she said. "I honestly believe he went there humble, to care for his mother, like any son would do."
Sagere remembers the last words Prather said to her before their phone connection was suddenly broken hours before the incident: He asked her not to make dinner until he got home so they could eat together.
She stayed with him day and night while he was in a coma at Advocate Christ Medical Center from the moment he was taken up the elevator until his death four days later, she said. She told him jokes — the way she used to — even though he never fully regained consciousness before he was pronounced at 4:30 p.m. on April 25.
"I just wanted him to open his eyes one last time," she said. "Just to look at me — to let me know that he heard me. I really wanted him to come back, but he didn't."
The two were to be married June 30 — a birthday memorial to Prather's brother, who died six years ago.
Sagere said Prather had his troubles in the past — several stays in the county jail, no felonies — but she said that once the two decided to be together three years ago in April, he had left the hustle behind.
Prather worked two jobs, one delivering papers for the Chicago Tribune, the other at Pizza Hut, to help support his family, including his four young children, Sagere said.
He was often misunderstood, she said. The heavily tattooed man was often seen by others as "thugged-up," but Sagere said his exterior belied a deep care for others.
"He had to deal with the struggle of trying to free himself from that life," she said. "That was my best friend — we were inseparable. It was around the end of 2010 that he really changed."
"We were making plans," she said tearfully.
In fact, a letter from a mortgage broker came a few days after Prather's death, Sagere said. It contained the next steps they needed to take for a home they hoped to buy — "a fixer-upper."
"Looks can be deceiving, and everything is not how it seems," Sagere said. "You'd have to understand that in order to get past [Prather's appearance] — but he was a good man."
"I saw that he was changing for me," Sagere said.