By Dawn Rhodes and Liam Ford, Chicago Tribune reporters
When Mikias Tibebu was ready to come home after a Friday night out with friends, his father offered over the telephone to pick him up and bring him home.
The 18-year-old from Schaumburg assured his father he’d get a ride with a friend. A few hours later, Tibebu died after an apparent hit-and-run crash early Saturday morning about two miles from his house.
“They were just waiting and waiting, and he never came back,” Tibebu’s aunt, Woinshet Alemu, said Saturday as she choked back tears. “Then they found out that he was dead.”
Tibebu, a senior at Schaumburg High School, was found about 12:40 a.m. near Schaumburg Road and Branchwood Drive, where bystanders and police attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation, officials said. He was declared dead at the scene from head and neck injuries 20 minutes later, officials said.
Though the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the death an accident, Schaumburg police said they’re looking for witnesses to the crash.
His family was at a loss over how the bright, athletic student could suddenly be gone. And, why he was found two miles away from their house in the 800 block of Westfield Lane in the northwest suburb. Earlier information that he lived on Field Lane in Schaumburg was incorrect.
“It’s kind of hard to believe,” said his brother Neb Tibebu, 14. “You wouldn’t think it would happen to you. I want to know what really happened.”
Tibebu, whom relatives called Mickey, was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States as a toddler, Neb Tibebu said. The family’s three younger children were all born in the United States.
On a website memorial, Tibebu’s high school noted that he was both an Illinois State Scholar and a National Achievement Award winner.
Tibebu’s family — who said he was being considered for an academic scholarship at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif — described him as quiet and caring.
They added that among Tibebu’s passions was running cross-county and track. His Facebook page features images of the teen in the middle of a race, wearing a sweat-soaked red-and-white jersey emblazoned with gold letters.“We just keep crying and crying,” Alemu said. “His parents came here to give them a better life, better school. And now look at what’s happened.”
Schaumburg police request that anyone who was in the area of the crash between 12:15 and 12:45 a.m. Saturday call (847) 882-3534.