Sara Heide was the kind of person who’d make two new best friends during a trip to the grocery store when she was growing up.
“There was not a shy bone in Sara,” said her mom, Dorothy Heide.
The 28-year-old McHenry resident died on the Fourth of July near Kenosha, Wis., after an alleged drunken driving crash.
Her outgoing personality also was reflected in her attitude at work. Heide’s field of choice – machine operator – might be dominated by men, but that didn’t stop her from fitting in.
She most recently worked at Scot Forge in Spring Grove.
Jennifer Herman, the company’s human resources director, said Heide’s femininity was noticeable when she bundled her long hair under her hard hat, causing it to sit a little higher than the others. But she always got along with her mostly male co-workers.
“She was just a gal that never missed a beat,” Herman said. “It’s a man’s world, but ... they always just thought of her as another operator.”
Herman said Heide also did a good job taking care of her daughter, Angelina Anne, 4.
“She took great joy in providing for her family, and she really thought ahead about Angelina,” Herman said. “But certainly none of that will ever replace her mother.”
John Heide, 29, said his sister’s unexpected death was difficult to accept.
“The family is just taking it day by day,” he said. “We kind of find ourselves at the end of each day kind of surprised that another whole day has gone by. ... It still feels like it’s Saturday.”
His mother said coping with the grief was the hardest thing she ever had done.
“I’ve always heard that expression that you deal with things one day at a time,” she said. “I feel like I’m dealing with things one moment at a time.”
The accident happened about 3:45 a.m. Saturday near 93rd Street and 388th Avenue in Randall, Wis., according to a news release from Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputies.
Sara Heide was the passenger in a car with her ex-fiancé, Bryan W. Fusinato, who allegedly was drinking and driving, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Graveley, with the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office.
The two were westbound on 93rd Street and drifted off the road. Heide was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering from a broken neck, and Fusinato was taken to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Milwaukee.
Graveley said the two were at a bar on the Illinois side of border before the accident, and Fusinato allegedly told officers during an emergency room interview that he had either passed out or fallen asleep at the wheel.
Officials still are waiting for the results a blood test Fusinato took.
The 39-year-old Twin Lakes, Wis., resident has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. He was released Tuesday from the Kenosha County jail after posting 10 percent of his $20,000 bond. His next court date is Monday.
If convicted of the Class D felony, he could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.