Grandmother of 16 and 2 friends killed when Jeep flips over

A grandmother who worked as a nurse for drug addicts died with two of her friends when their Jeep hit a light pole and flipped over on the West Side, officials and relatives said today.

The three were in a red Jeep traveling east on 31st Street when it hit a curb at Western Avenue, then the pole and landed on its roof about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.
Firefighters had to cut the victims, a man and two women, from the SUV. The three were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where they were later pronounced dead, officials said.

Authorities identified the victims as Phillip Barnes, 46, of the 1500 block of Ludington Circle in Romeoville; Yvonne Tobias, 57, of the 400 block of South Homan Avenue in Chicago; and Leantwana Rosebur, 40, of the 4900 block of West Gladys Avenue in Chicago.

Barnes and Rosebur were friends of Tobias, who regularly dropped her off at her nursing job at Southwood Interventions, a substance abuse center in Englewood, said her daughter, Juanita Giles.
Tobias had worked as a nurse for her entire life, but more than 20 years ago she started to hang out with a different group of people and became addicted to drugs and alcohol, Giles said. In 1993, she was hit with a drug-related charge and sentenced to probation, court records show.

“Once she went in that penitentiary she changed her life around,” said Giles, remarking about how proud she was of her mother.
Tobias was a “well-known” and “respected” nurse at Southwood Interventions, where she spent the last 10 years of her career as a registered nurse in the detoxification unit, said center director Walter Carlson.

“It’s a very particular field to work,” he said. “They are not always the most grateful people in the moment.”

But staff at the substance abuse center had come to also know the 57-year-old as a loving grandmother of more than a dozen children, said Carlson. Giles said her mother had 16 grandchildren and some great-grandchildren.
“That’s where she devoted her time … to her family and her children,” said Carlson.

One of her granddaughters, Farrah Robins, 22, said Tobias often called to check up on her and ask how her children were doing in school.
“She said take care of your kids, work your job and keep your bank account set,” said Robbins. “So I got to live up on that.”

Though Barnes had worked in factories for much of his career, more recently he struggled to find steady employment, his father Albert Barnes Sr. said in a telephone interview.

“He was going all over trying to get work,” said Barnes Sr. “It just frustrated him so much.”

He was a father of three, who many lovingly called “Theo,” his father said.
“You can’t find anybody to say a bad thing about him,” said Barnes Sr.  “Everybody loved Theo.”

Family information about Rosebur was not immediately available.

As of Wednesday night, police were still investigating the crash.

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

  • State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    A man was shot multiple times while traveling in a minivan on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway on Friday morning, authorities said.

  • Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    It may sound like an urban legend: Music festival-goers bury bottles of booze in Chicago parks, plot a GPS location for the goods and uncover them days later when the festival comes alive.

  • Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    The Emanuel administration on Friday will propose an experiment at O'Hare International Airport to rotate the runways used late at night, possibly on a weekly basis, to spread out jet noise, the city's aviation chief told the Chicago Tribune.

  • Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Along Chicago's lakefront at Fullerton Avenue Beach, cranes rolled along a causeway that only a few months ago was part of the lake itself. Every day this summer, roughly 40 construction workers are filling in Lake Michigan with dredged material and gravel, which will eventually add up to 5.8 acres...

  • Doughnut panic

    Doughnut panic

    I'm not ashamed to admit that for the past several years, I have mapped my walk to work around which doughnut shop I'd like an excuse to stop at on the way. There's nothing like the thought of a crunchy, craggy old fashioned doughnut or the sweet, yeasty chew of a classic glazed doughnut to help...