Memorial held for 72-year-old Rockford man killed while crossing E. State Street

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday in memorial of Billy Chears, a 72-year-old man who was killed while crossing East State Street in Rockford on Monday.

“I just can’t imagine my dad walking into traffic,” said Chears’ daughter Sabrina. “That’s not him.”

Sabrina and her sister, Machesia, say they are in disbelief that their dad is really gone.

“I had been calling him. My mom had been calling him. He didn’t answer the phone, and then she got a call that he had been hit on East State Street,” Machesia said.

“We can’t believe that he would step into traffic, not watching what he was doing,” Sabrina added. “It had to be something where he didn’t see it coming. The car had to be coming fast.”

The sisters said Chears did everything for them and gave the best advice, also saying he would play shows for the Rockford Park District and was in two jazz bands.

His family held a balloon release on Monday, and had asked anyone who knew him or his music to come and participate.

“Anyone who played with my dad, heard my dad sing or was at any of his events, please show up. Let my dad know that he was loved and we’re gonna miss him,” Sabrina said.

Both of Chears’ daughters say they want justice for their dad.

“We just want them to do what’s right and what’s best for our dad, and we’ll make sure that happens,” Sabrina said.

No charges have been announced against the driver of the vehicle which hit Chears.

The family says donations for Chears’ funeral costs can be made to Collins and Stone Funeral Home, at 128 S 5th St.

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