Collision Course

In 2005, a young woman bent on self-destruction intentionally drove her car into the back of another. She lived. Three musicians on their lunch break died. This year, as her prison sentence comes to its end, the case remains a tragedy without closure or explanation.

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Shure Inc. is headquartered in a massive glass-and-steel building so shiny and modern that it overpowers the everyday suburbia that surrounds it. On the inside, the office is far more casual, more like the people who work there. A Niles-based manufacturer of audio equipment, Shure hires many musicians and practices an informal credo of being flexible, letting employees make time to gig, tour, or count on getting to weekly band practice. The way Dahlquist, Glick, and Meis saw it, the place was a haven for realistic types: people who aspired to play music full-time, but stayed grounded enough not to count on it.

Dahlquist was a technical writer on the sixth floor and Glick worked a few desks away in marketing and communications. Meis worked on the fifth floor in customer service. All three men were close, literally and figuratively. During the week, the guys talked around each other’s desks, played pranks, met in the Shure break room for chess, or went to lunch. Outside of work, each was in a band: Dahlquist was the drummer in the intricate rock band Silkworm, Glick played guitar and sang in the garage-rock outfit The Returnables, and Meis had been the drummer in Exo and The Dials, the latter a punk band in which Glick’s wife, Rebecca Crawford, played bass and sang. The guys got together to see one another’s shows or other bands, sing karaoke, and barbecue.

On this day, the friends spontaneously headed to one of their favorite lunch spots, Pita Inn, about four miles away on Dempster Street. “It was always just, ‘Hey, let’s go’—we’re going to grab lunch and laugh our asses off,” explains Jim MacGregor, a friend of the three from work. “It probably happened once a week, at a minimum. Any one of us could have gone.”

Sometime after 11:30 a.m., Dahlquist walked over to Glick’s desk and said, “Let’s go.” Glick asked if anyone else wanted to join them. A few desks away, Jon Stookey replied, “No, thanks”; he’d brought his lunch for the first time in months. MacGregor, also within earshot, said he had to work, especially because he had a meeting with Glick at 2:30 p.m. to go over the wording on some technical brochures.

Three years later, MacGregor describes the “what if’s” that linger: What if Stookey had gone? What if their morning meetings had run late? What if he had gone—but stopped at a drinking fountain and delayed the trip? “All the things that might have happened differently,” he says. “The questions can drive you crazy.”

The three friends piled into Dahlquist’s black Honda Civic. Maybe they took Lehigh Avenue. Maybe they were on Gross Point Road. Regardless, the last 20 minutes of their lives come down to this: It was a beautiful summer day, and Michael Dahlquist, John Glick, and Doug Meis were on lunch break. “All I know,” says Tim Midgett, a friend of the three and a bandmate of Dahlquist’s, “is that they couldn’t have been having a bad time.”

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