CPS teacher killed on I-294 while aiding stranded motorist

DES PLAINES (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A Northwest Side high school teacher was killed in a four-vehicle crash Saturday morning on the Tri-State Tollway in northwest suburban Des Plaines.

Jeffery R. Komada, 54, was the director of the technology department at Taft High School, 6350 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Principal Mark Grishaber said.

Shortly after 10 a.m., a Ford minivan stalled out in the middle lane of traffic on southbound I-294 at mile post 41-1/2 between Touhy and Devon Avenues, according to Illinois State Police.

Komada was at the wheel of a Honda SUV that then rear-ended the Ford, before a Volkswagen slammed into the back of his vehicle, state police said.

Komada, a Des Plaines resident, helped a 38-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl from the Volkswagen get into the back of his vehicle to move them over to the shoulder, authorities said.

He was standing outside when a Peterbuilt semi hit him, the Honda and Volkswagen, authorities said. He was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he later died.

“[He] was an esteemed colleague and he was a friend to everyone in the building,” Grishaber said of Komada, who was named an “Educator of the Year” at Taft in 2015. “He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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