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Logan Square Cyclist Killed By 'L' Had Lost Brother in Car Crash Years Ago

By  Josh McGhee and Mina Bloom | June 26, 2014 7:15am | Updated on June 26, 2014 1:37pm

 Bicyclist Ronayne Thomas, of Logan Square, was killed when he was hit by an "L" train near the Kedzie Brown Line stop.
Ronayne Thomas death
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LOGAN SQUARE — A 31-year-old Logan Square man was struck by an "L" train early Thursday while riding his bike in the Albany Park neighborhood.

Ronayne Thomas, 31, rode around the gates at the Kedzie Brown Line stop in the 4600 block of North Kedzie Avenue and attempted to cross the tracks when he was struck by a northbound train shortly after midnight, said Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman.

Thomas, of the 1900 block of North Drake Avenue, was pronounced dead an the scene at 12:23 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Power was shut down between the Kimball and Western CTA stations around 12:20 a.m. and bus shuttles were provided in both directions until service was restored at 1:05 a.m., according to Catherine Hosinski, a CTA spokeswoman.

The CTA is investigating the incident, Hosinski said.

Thomas loved two things: "to cook and ride his bike," said family friend Mitch Cavanah.

Cavanah said Thomas' older brother died in a car crash while in college in the early 2000s.

“I can’t fathom what his family must be going through. It was shocking [to hear] because it brings up memories of his brother," said Cavanah, who went to college with Thomas' older brother.

Thomas had attended Kendall College while the two were away at school, he said.

He moved to Chicago from Menominee, Wisconsin, about 11 years ago to study culinary arts at the school.

Growing up he enjoyed hunting and exploring the woods with his tight-knit family but when he moved to the city he found a niche in the urban cycling community, said Diana Witcher, his step-sister.

"He loved going all over the city on his bike," Witcher said, adding he commuted to school and to his job as a line cook at the Nightwood Restaurant.

"It'd be snowing, and he'd be on his bike," said Kristina Soukup, a classmate of Thomas' at Kendall College.

He also spent six months in France studying French cuisine, which he was especially passionate about, Witcher said.

"He was a really sweet guy that just loved to be in the kitchen," Witcher said adding he would bring his knives and utensils back home when he would visit and cook meals for his family.

Soukup said Thomas was close with his Kendall classmates. They traveled to France, and had late-night bonding sessions over drinks. That helped relieve the stress of culinary school.

She said her fondest memory of Thomas was during those late nights: They "brought us down to earth, helped mask the hard work. We'd out for a drink or two, and just sit and talk."

"It's way too soon," Soukup said. "He definitely lived his life to the fullest."

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