Earlier this week a tragedy occurred on Chicago's north
lakefront. Reported facts are sketchy, but it seems possible, even
likely, that if the Chicago Fire Department helicopter rescue squad were
still based at Meigs Field that Mr. Looey could still be alive today.
Since Meigs' midnight demolition, the
rescue squad has been located 9 miles and several critical travel minutes
farther south, on the Illinois/Indiana border at the lakefront.
In the time-critical world of search and
rescue, mere minutes often translate into lives saved or lost.
And the Mayor's reason Meigs was closed was
for "public safety"??? How many lives will it cost before reason
Chicago Tribune story:
Man dies trying to rescue dog
Chicagoan drowns in Lake Michigan
By Tonya Maxwell and
Andrew L. Wang
Tribune staff reporters
Published April 17, 2006
After Easter breakfast with
his wife, Richard Looey headed out for fresh air with two of his boxers,
Ringo and Daisy.
Looey told his wife he planned to take a long walk along the lakefront
and slipped a camera into his pocket. He liked to snap pictures of the
dogs on special days.
About two hours later, police arrived at the couple's Northwest Side
home and told his wife, Maria, that her husband of 25 years was dead.
He tried to rescue a dog that had either fallen or jumped into the lake,
About 9:20 a.m., rescuers responded to a call about a man shouting for
help from the lake, just offshore in the 4300 block of North Lake Shore
Drive, Officer Kristina Schuler said.
When a Fire Department helicopter arrived minutes later, the man was
underwater and nowhere to be seen, said Larry Langford, a spokesman for
Rescue divers were sent into the lake and brought the man to land about
two minutes later. He was taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital, where he was
pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m.
A spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner identified him as Baba
The odd-sounding name was a nod to his sense of humor, Maria Looey said.
Her husband had legally changed it because his given name, Richard
Bogulewski, left so many tongue-tied, she said.
He owned a tool and die business, could pilot a plane and was curious
about the world, she said.
"He was very creative. He could make everything from anything," she
said. "And he loved his animals."
The couple didn't have children, and they cherished the dogs, she said.
Twice in the past several years, the Looeys' dogs have had litters of
puppies. One was adopted by Jennifer Crane of Wilmette, who quickly saw
their love for the animals.
"There's no question in my mind that he would have had no other thought
than to go in after dogs," she said