By Alex Garcia, Colleen Mastony and Rosemary R. Sobol
4:52 pm, October 5, 2012
Neill Townsend biked to work most days, in all kinds of weather, and almost always had a story to share about a close call on the street.
“He would tell us about them,’’ said Scott Wilson, CEO of Minimal Inc., a product design firm where Townsend worked. “He did have a lot of close calls with cars or even other cyclists. It’s not a bike-friendly city, unfortunately.”
Friday morning, the 32-year-old attorney was riding south on Wells Street in front of Walter Payton High School, just north of Oak Street, when the driver of a Nissan Altima swung open the door, police said.
Townsend swerved and fell underneath the wheels of a passing semi that was hauling a flat-bed trailer, police said.
The man who opened the door was cited for a traffic violation, according to News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.
Townsend lived on the Near North Side and was headed for work at 1032 W. Fulton Market. Wilson said co-workers suspected something was wrong when he didn’t show up at a morning meeting at a Starbucks.
“He’s always on time,’’ Wilson said.
Townsend had served as head of operations at the design firm for the last two years after joining the company as a consultant.
“We were just saying he probably cared more about the company than anything else,’’ Wilson said. “He came out of school, did an internship and he ended up loving it.”
Wilson said he had been looking forward to telling Townsend about a recent work trip to Los Angeles. “He always had great ideas,’’ Wilson said. “I’m just glad I got to know him. He will be greatly missed, both as an employee and as a friend.
“He had so much potential.’’
Triibune reporter Liam Ford contributed