A NASCAR contractor died after being electrocuted at the Chicago Street Race site downtown Friday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said on Saturday.
Chicago police said just before 11:30 a.m. a 53-year-old man was taken from the 500 block of South Columbus Drive near Buckingham Fountain to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
In a statement, NASCAR said he suffered a “fatal medical emergency.” No further details about the incident have been released.
“We are coordinating with local authorities on this tragic incident. We share our condolences to the family and their loved ones,” NASCAR said.
The Cook County Medical Examiner identified him as Duane Tabinski.
Tabinski is the founder of an eponymous event production company, DUANE, and was in Chicago to supply audio equipment for the NASCAR Chicago Street Race. His coworkers said he invented a special piece of audio equipment called Tracpac, and that is what he was setting up when at the time of his medical emergency.
“Earlier today he went up into the grandstands and he was able to fire it up for the first time and see it all work, and it was one of the happiest days of his life,” said Ken Sorrell, director of business development at DUANE.
Sorrell said Tabinski is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently lived in the Nashville metropolitan area. He had a long career working special events, creating and setting up production equipment for past NASCAR races as well as a number of major concerts.
“He never treated a client like a client. He treats everyone like a friend, and he’s always looking for ways to do things better and make everyone happier,” he said.
Sorrell said the company was Tabinski’s passion and dream since he was 17, and while this weekend won’t be the same without him, his loved ones are promising to carry on his legacy.
“We’re gonna carry on. We’re gonna keep doing things. We’re gonna do this NASCAR event, all these future shows, and we’re gonna make him proud,” he said.
Sorrell told ABC7 Tabinski’s family is on their way to Chicago as well.