CRYSTAL LAKE – The man who died Sunday in a motorcycle crash at routes 14 and 31 was on his way home from running a simple errand, his friend said.
Russell W. Janca, 23, was buying bread at a nearby store, but he never made it back.
The 2006 Woodstock High School graduate was pronounced dead at the scene after he was thrown from the motorcycle he was driving when it struck the center median at the northbound ramp to Route 14 from Route 31, Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Gene Lowery said in a news release.
Janca, a mixed martial arts fighter who focused his talents on jiu jitsu, is being remembered for his good nature and witty sense of humor.
“He was an amazing person,” said Janca’s friend Katie Stumpf, 23, of Crystal Lake. “He had a great personality. He had a great heart. He was an awesome person that made you laugh out of nowhere and for no apparent reason.”
His friends are hosting a remembrance gathering in his honor from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday at 4 Real Fitness in Lake in the Hills.
“This hurt a lot of people,” Stumpf said. “He really was a wonderful person and had so many wonderful qualities that were admirable. I don’t think there could be one person he would meet that wouldn’t love him.”
The 2006 Suzuki that Janca was driving became airborne after striking the median, and then struck a 2002 Honda Accord, that was stopped in traffic for a red light at westbound Route 14 and Route 31. The motorcycle came to rest in the westbound lane of Route 14, the news release stated.
Janca, who was not wearing a helmet, fell off the motorcycle as he lost control and struck the raised curb of the center median, suffering severe head trauma, witnesses told police.Also according to witnesses, Janca was operating the motorcycle in a reckless manner and was traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash, the news release stated.
The Accord was driven by Alexander Manoshin, 30, of Glenview. He was not injured.
Crystal Lake Police diverted traffic past the crash scene for about 3½ hours.
Accident investigators with the Crystal Lake Police Department’s Targeted Response Unit are continuing the investigation.
Chris Mazalewski, a witness to the accident who was in the westbound lanes of Route 14, said that he saw Janca lose control and be thrown from his bike.
“He was going up the ramp too fast and hit the curb,” Mazalewski said.
• Planning editor Cyndi Wyss contributed to this article.