Updated 11/13/12 – 4:46 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A father of three who worked at the Cook County Clerk’s office was killed Monday night, when he and his brother-in-law were struck by a hit-and-run driver in the West Rogers Park neighborhood.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports 44-yera-old Tsering Dorjee, a Tibetan native, has been living in the Chicago area for the past 18 years, and had been working for Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office as a member of the Vital Records office since 1998. He was the 2008 Employee of the Year for the Vital Records office.
Dorjee’s three sons — ages 6, 3, and 1 — do not yet understand what has happened, but their distraught mother’s face said it all as she spoke about the moment she learned about the hit-and-run that claimed her husband’s life.
“They said you have to come right away to see your husband,” Dorjee’s widow, Kalsang Wangmo said.
Police said Dorjee and another his brother-in-law, who is 46, were trying to cross Devon Avenue near Maplewood Avenue around 6 p.m. Monday, when they were struck by a dark-blue Volkswagen Beetle.
Dorjee was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston in critical condition, and was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. Monday. Dorjee’s brother-in-law suffered a broken leg, but was expected to recover.
Wangmo, speaking through a translator, told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez that she didn’t know how the family would cope financially after Dorjee’s death.
“I don’t know, because he’s the bread winner, he works, and then I look after the kids,” she said.
Family friend Lhakpa Tsering said, “It’s tragic. We are a very small community. … We never had such kind of news.”
A neighbor said Dorjee was a doting father, who died too soon.
“It was completely shocking. They live right down the hall from me, they are a beautiful family. The husband was beautiful, the wife and the children are beautiful; hard-working, friendly. It just rips your heart out to hear that,” said Amy McManus.
Orr said employees at his office were devastated by Dorjee’s death.
“He was a very dedicated worker; in fact, he was very much loved, because half the office down there was in tears when they heard about it,” Orr said.
Police said the car that struck the two men was described as a dark-blue Volkswagen Beetle, bearing Illinois license plate #P121817.
The Cook County Clerk’s office was working to establish a fund for Dorjee’s family, as his wife was not employed.
“Now we have to see how well we can lead this family, with three small children – and two have medical issues. So, it’s very devastating,” Lhakpa Tsering said.
Wangmo said her husband’s mother called from India on Tuesday, but she couldn’t find the words to tell her what happened. Instead, she told her Dorjee was in the shower.
Orr’s office has set up a memorial fund for Dorjee. Donations can be sent to:
Tsering Dorjee Memorial Fund
California & Devon Branch
2801 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645
The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, where Dorjee was vice president, also plans to hold a fundraiser for his family.