Reginald Destin died doing what he loved most: skateboarding.
After taking up the sport at a young age, Destin, 42, became a pillar in the Chicago skateboarding community, known by many for his signature “wall ride” move that took Destin and his board gliding horizontally along a vertical wall.
“Everybody always looked up to him,” said Christopher Pitzen, who befriended Destin nearly two decades ago. “No matter who you were or where you came from, he was your friend.”
On Saturday, Destin’s friends mourned the outgoing skateboard entrepreneur’s death a week after he was struck in a hit-and-run accident while riding his board in a Bucktown bike lane.Destin had been in critical condition since the crash, moving friends and supporters from across the country to pray for his recovery.
Pitzen organized a fundraising drive on behalf of Destin’s family to help defray costs related to the accident. By Saturday night, when the drive turned into a funeral fundraiser, more than 500 people had donated a total of about $29,000.
As a measure of Destin’s impact, skateboarding icon Tony Hawk tweeted about Destin and posted a link to Pitzen’s site.
“Reggie Destin, a great advocate of skateboarding & pillar of Chicago, was hit by a drunk driver & needs our help,” Hawk posted on Friday.
Pitzen said he met Destin 18 years ago when Destin was working at Windward Boardshop in the Lakeview neighborhood. Though Destin was six years older, the pair hung out frequently to go skateboarding.
Pitzen said that in addition to skateboarding, the creative and artistic Destin united people from many other social circles.
“I wouldn’t know half the people I do had it not been for Reggie,” Pitzen said.Pitzen said he was skateboarding with Destin and another friend around 2 a.m. on Oct. 19 in the 1700 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
“We saw this car coming and it was accelerating,” said Pitzen, who was across the street when the accident happened. “I heard a thud and I saw Reggie feet first up in the air, upside down.”
The driver, Luis P. Pena, of the 2700 block of West 24th Place, fled the scene of the crash but was pulled over soon after at North and Oakley avenues, according to police.
He had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit, when he was caught by police. Destin was transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in critical condition, where he had been placed in a medically induced coma and later died.
Pena, 30, is being held without bail after being charged with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury.
Sally Daly, spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said that officials are considering upgrading those charges in light of Destin’s death.
Pena also faces misdemeanor counts of DUI, reckless driving, not having a driver's license and operating without insurance, according to police.
Pena's bail in Destin's death was set at $400,000, but he is being held without bail because prosecutors said he is alleged to have violated the terms of bond in a previous drunk driving charge, officials said.
Destin’s death comes a few days before his favorite holiday: Halloween. Known for his creative costumes, Pitzer said the pair were planning to dress up as ‘90s rappers MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.
“I called him and asked him what he was up to,” Pitzen recalled.
Showing his humor, Destin replied: “I’m working on my dance moves.”Destin’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at St. Mary of the Lake Parish at 10 a.m., Pitzen said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times