Family mourns ‘happy, fun man’ killed in wrong-way crash in Palos Twp.
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org March 12, 2013 7:58PM
The scene of a fatal car accident on northbound Lagrange Road near 107th street in Palos Township , IL on Tuesday March 7, 2013. Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
An Orland Park man whose family described him as fun-loving and hard-working died early Tuesday when, while driving to his job as a short-order cook, his car was hit head-on by a sport utility vehicle going the wrong way on LaGrange Road in Palos Township.
John Anagnopoulos, 64, of the 15400 block of Sunset Ridge Drive, was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn shortly after the crash, which took place just after 3 a.m. in the 10500 block of LaGrange Road, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s office said.
Anagnopoulos was driving a 2002 Nissan Sentra in the northbound lanes when his car was hit by a 2002 GMC Denali driven by a 19-year-old Burr Ridge man, spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said. The Burr Ridge man also was taken to Christ Medical Center but was released later Tuesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
No one else was in either vehicle.
Cook County sheriff’s police are investigating the crash, Ansari said. Northbound LaGrange Road was closed for several hours Tuesday between 107th and 95th streets.
Eleni Sweis, of Oak Forest, said her father was driving to his job as a cook at the 47th Street Grill in Lyons when the accident took place. He had worked as a cook since he came to America from his native Greece in 1965, she said.
He went back to Greece to marry his wife, Tina. Together, they raised two daughters and a son. They have three grandchildren, and two more are due this year, Sweis said. She and her sister are both pregnant.
Their father “was a very happy and fun man who liked to have a good time,” Sweis said.
When he wasn’t working — which wasn’t often — he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, she said.
“He worked all the time, seven days a week,” she said.
Besides working at the grill five days a week, Anagnopoulos worked on weekends as a cook at the Rolling Lanes Bowling Center in Countryside, she said.
Three years ago, Anagnopoulos and his wife returned to Greece for the first time in 20 years to visit family and friends, she said.
A neighbor, James Mirabella, said Anagnopoulos was a hard worker.
“I didn’t see a lot of him because of his hours. He’d start early and go to bed early,” Mirabella said.
“This is a shame. Here’s a guy who worked hard all his life. It’s just terrible,” Mirabella said.
The stretch of LaGrange Road where the accident occurred has a concrete wall separating the northbound and southbound lanes.
“That’s why they put that barrier in, to avoid accidents like this,” Mirabella said.
Ansari said she had no information about whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
Arrangements are pending for Anagnopoulos.