St. Ignatius athlete recalls semi striking team bus, Chicago’s ‘antique skyscrapers’ get their due and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Colin McGrath, a player on the St. Ignatius Wolfpack junior varsity hockey team, on Monday outside his school after he and 15 other players were injured when a semi plowed into their team bus in Indiana.

Warsaw police (left), Dave Struett/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 41 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of snow and a low near 33. Tomorrow will bring snow, possibly mixed with rain, and a high near 37. Snow accumulation of less than one inch is possible.

Top story

Injured St. Ignatius hockey player recalls ‘crash, bang’ of semi striking team bus in Indiana. ‘We all stayed together and prayed’

Colin McGrath was resting on his friend’s shoulder on the St. Ignatius College Prep hockey team’s bus Saturday evening after a tournament in Indiana.

“All of a sudden I hear a crash, bang, and I blacked out,” said McGrath, a player on the school’s junior varsity Wolfpack team. 

A semitruck had plowed into their bus as the team returned to a hotel from dinner in Warsaw, about 50 miles south of South Bend. McGrath woke up on top of his friend, shattered glass was strewn everywhere.

“I picked up my friend and some pedestrian came and opened the emergency door for us,” he said. “After that it was just walking, freaking out, just getting out and figuring out what was happening and getting everyone safe.”

McGrath was seated in the rear of the bus, near where the truck struck it. 

“If I was one row back, it would’ve been a lot worse,” he said.

Sixteen students were hurt and three of them were taken in “very critical” condition to Fort Wayne Lutheran Hospital, police said.

McGrath suffered a dislocated shoulder and swollen jaw, he said. His left arm was in a sling as he returned to class Monday morning, wearing his Wolfpack hockey jersey.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. Saturday. The school’s junior varsity hockey team had competed in a tournament at Culver Military Academy. Felony DUI charges were pending against a semi driver who police say ran a red light and crashed into a bus carrying 23 students and two hockey coaches.

One of the seriously injured students was discharged from a hospital Sunday evening, school spokeswoman Kristyn Hartman said Monday. Two other students were expected to remain hospitalized for three to five more days, she said. Ten others on the bus were uninjured, police said. All were taken by another school bus to Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, where officers notified relatives, police said. The students are 14 to 17 years old. The seriously injured players will require more surgery for internal injuries, McGrath said.

McGrath was eager to leave the hospital and reunite with his team.

“I didn’t want to be there because I wanted to be with my teammates. We all stayed together and prayed,” he said

David Struett and Allison Novelo have more on the harrowing crash here.

More news you need

  1. A downstate man who assaulted a police officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection is being held in the Sangamon County Jail following a wrong-way crash last week on I-55 that killed a woman, authorities say. Shane Woods, 44, of Auburn, is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, authorities said.
  2. Cook County prosecutors today asked for more time to decide on whether to prosecute R. Kelly on sexual abuse charges involving four Chicago-area women. The next hearing in the case has been set for Dec. 13.
  3. Mauyak, a female beluga whale that had lived at Shedd Aquarium for a quarter of a century, has died, aquarium staff said. ”She was a very independent whale, extremely playful and was an attentive mom to her calves,” a Shedd official said.
  4. On the cusp of the 2022 holiday movie season, Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper has previewed his most-anticipated upcoming films. The list includes films like “The Fabelmans,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and more.

A bright one

Photographer, historian team up for unique portraits of Chicago’s ‘antique skyscrapers’

They are domed or stepped back or crenelated, like castle towers. With illuminated clocks or fierce gryphons or flying buttresses. Urns and eagles, ladies liberty and neon signs.

In Chicago, there is the azure blue of the American Furniture Mart, whose windows seem to float against perfect summer skies. Or the white summit of Mather Tower, a reminder that the top four stories started crumbling and were lopped off, only to have the city eventually force the owner to helicopter in a replacement. The glittering gold crown of the Carbide and Carbon Building.

Chris Hytha, a 25-year-old Philadelphia photographer, calls them simply “Highrises” on his sleek online project presenting stunning high-resolution photographs stitched together from close-up drone shots of grande dame buildings across the country. Historian Mark Houser calls them “antique skyscrapers” and covers them in his self-published 2020 book, “MultiStories: 55 Antique Skyscrapers & the Business Tycoons Who Built Them.”

Not just a valentine to lovely old structures, the book is a scholarly attempt to puff off the dust and view them afresh — and the book put Houser on Hytha’s radar.


Using a drone, Chris Hytha takes detailed photographs of older skyscrapers. How many of these Chicago landmarks can you recognize? Top row, left to right: Tribune Tower, Mather Tower, American Furniture Mart, Steuben Club. Second row: Reliance Building; 333 N. Michigan; Board of Trade; Carbide and Carbon Building. Third row: United Methodist Church, Hotel Intercontinental, Jewelers’ Building, Palmolive Building. Bottom row: Pittsfield Building, Wrigley Building, Trustees System Service Building, Monadnock Building.

Chris Hytha/Provided

The two teamed up and visited Chicago in August and shot 16 buildings. While Hytha was taken with their image, Houser focused on their history.

“We don’t appreciate that these iconic buildings were disruptive high technology,” Houser said. “They radically changed every city in America, not just Chicago and New York.”

Hytha sells his photos in a variety of ways: as “Architecturally Annotated Prints,” 13-by-19-inch images including information Houser has dug up, limited signed editions of 100 for $100 apiece. In group posters for $20, or iPhone wallpaper for $10.

The big money, though, is in NFTs, non-fungible tokens — digital collectibles that have shaken up the art world. Since April, Hytha has sold 65 NFTs of high-rises, for about $500 to $1,000 each. Though as with all NFTs, they also trade on an aftermarket, where these unique, unreproducible bundles of code have sold for five to 10 times what Hytha got for them.

Neil Steinberg has more with Hytha and Houser here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Based on architecture/design, what is your favorite Chicago building? Tell us why.

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What’s your favorite hidden gem in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said...

“The captured submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry. My absolute favorite exhibit in Chicago! If you haven’t been since third grade, time to go back!” — Vana Kikos

“OZ Park, it has all the statues there. Of course, my favorite, tin man, is right on the corner.” — Debra Marlin

“The National Museum of Mexican Art is definitely a gem. Good time to visit too. Is one of my favorites.” — Kathryn Eret Kinder

“Manny’s Deli the best corn beef pastrami sandwiches~” — Kathy Juarez

“The Martin Luther King Roller Rink and Bowling Alley on 76th and Racine. The only one of its kind in Chicago. An oasis of peace and fun in a troubled area.” — Timothy Thomas

“Maggiano’s Little Italy. Absolutely wonderfully delicious.” — Karla Cashen

“The Lodge on Division.” — Larry Parham

“Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park.” — Nicky Weiner-Swank

“Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.” — Jane Borton

“Seminary Co-op Bookstore — stacks and stacks of beautiful books on the South Side. And the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond on the North Side — a great place to read a book.” — Craig Barner

“Jimmy’s Hot dog stand on Grand and Pulaski.” — Ricki DellaBianca

“Pequod’s Pizza. Best I’ve ever had.” — Misha Kieren

“For me The 63rd Street Beach on summer afternoons by the drummers.” — Klever Coleman

“Belmont Harbor.” — Maureen Rhoda

“JuJu’s Vintage. Would live in this store if I could.” — Nicole Boylan

“Northerly Island and 12th Street beach.” — Sarah Villegas

“My favorite hidden gem in Chicago is the Peace Garden at Buena and the Lakefront Trail — it has gardens, a statue, a water garden and a small waterfall in the warmer months.” — Gene Tenner

“The William W. Powers State Recreation Area in Hegewish. It’s beautiful!” — William Helmcke

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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