Danny You died on what had been one of the happiest days of his life, a friend said Thursday.
You, 38, was crossing the train tracks in Morton Grove at about 6 p.m. Tuesday to meet his fiancee on the other side, said Michael Slattery of Skokie, who identified himself as You's roommate, friend and co-worker at a Morton Grove moving company.
"He was on top of the world, because they were supposed to get married Wednesday (the following day)," Slattery said. "He had it all set. They were going to get married at the courthouse."
You had taken time off work that morning to get the marriage license, and he planned to surprise his intended with a honeymoon in Hawaii, Slattery added.
Those plans changed in an instant when You stepped onto the tracks and the train struck and killed him.
The fiancee and Slattery witnessed the entire accident, Slattery said.
Darin Hanley of Bubb Funeral Chapel in South Bend, Ind., which is handling You's funeral, said he heard the account of what happened from a representative of the funeral home who traveled to Chicago to get You's body, as well as some of his clothing.
"Our guy said she (the fiancee) was distraught and beside herself because she witnessed the whole thing," Hanley said. "I can't imagine what she went through."
You, of 4845 Lee Street in Skokie, may have been wearing earphones, and didn't hear the train before he stepped onto the tracks, Hanley suggested.
"It was just a freak accident," Slattery said. "He was trying to beat the train. His fiancee' was on the other side of the tracks."
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death an accident, a spokesperson said Thursday.
You grew up in Indiana and Michigan and graduated from Ball State University, said Jason Lee, a cousin.
Hanley said that You's family, including his father, brother and aunt, requested privacy, and asked that an obituary not appear.
Expressing sympathy, he said, "They were planning a wedding and now they're planning a funeral."
Services will be held at 11 a.m.Saturday (July 21) at Bubb Funeral Chapel in South Bend, and a graveside service wil take place at Rice Cemetery in Elkhart, Ind., at 12:30 p.m.