View Full Version : Steelers fan says he was poisoned, left blind in Chicago bar

11-17-2009, 09:10 PM
Steelers fan says he was poisoned, left blind in Chicago bar

November 17, 2009 12:15 PM | 4 Comments | UPDATED STORY

A Pittsburgh Steelers fan says he was left blind and is living with brain damage after he was apparently poisoned at a Chicago bar following a game in September.

The Steelers had lost to the Bears at Soldier Field, and some trash-talking was going on between Zack Heddinger's group of Pittsburgh fans and a group of Bears fans. Afterward, Heddinger, 46, was offered a drink by one of the Chicago fans, a gesture he thought was a peace offering, his older sister Linda Heddinger said this morning in an interview.

It still isn't clear what substance was in the drink, but doctors believe, based on the effects, that it was grain alcohol, antifreeze or some kind of pesticide, Linda Heddinger said.

What is clear, she said, is that her brother is having memory difficulties and is nearly blind.

"It seems like a bad connection you have with television," Linda Heddinger said. "He has glimpses, but just because he can see you today doesn't mean he will see you tomorrow."

Based on conversations with those with Heddinger, he and his family have "narrowed down" the instances in which he could have been poisoned to the incident at Kitty O'Shea's after they left the Sept. 20 game, his sister said.

Linda Heddinger said the game was part of an annual trip her brother takes with childhood friends to see sporting events in various cities.

According to a Chicago police report, at around 6 p.m. Heddinger, his sister Lisa and their friends were at the bar at 720 S. Michigan Ave. There was an "altercation between Bears and Pittsburgh fans," said Chicago Police Officer Laura Kubiak.

"My brother, trying to be a peacemaker, drank it," Linda Heddinger said. "No one else did."

The police report also mentions Heddinger took the drink and notes his group left the bar a short time later. At about 11 p.m. a call was made from their hotel for an ambulance.

Linda Heddinger said another sister received a call at about 2:30 a.m. from Rush University Medical Center that their brother's heart had stopped and he wasn't expected to survive. Doctors told the family, who later traveled to Chicago to be with Heddinger, that his reaction was much more severe than if he had just been drinking alcohol.

By Thursday, Heddinger was still hospitalized; he was getting headaches and starting to lose his vision, his sister said.

Heddinger later returned to the Pittsburgh area, where he is staying with one of his sisters and his account was first reported by WTAE-Ch. 4.

The last two months have been "very, very difficult," Linda Heddinger said, as the family has tried various treatments for their brother's ailments and made arrangements for his rehabilitation.Heddinger is the 7th of nine siblings, most of whom live in the Pittsburgh area.

A regional sales manager for a jewelry company, Zack Heddinger hasn't been working and he doesn't have health insurance, his sister said. "We're emotionally drained, financially drained," she said."I don't understand the mentality where you would do this to someone."

Police said Belmont Area detectives are still investigating the incident.

(I don't want to say about this one. To poison someone over a football game! Unbelievable! I hope the dude recovers.Thoughts and prayers for him and his family. - mesa)

11-17-2009, 09:19 PM
I could easily see this happening in Cinci. Thes people a freakin' insane.

Nadroj 20
11-17-2009, 09:26 PM
This really is a terrilbe story, i cant believe someone would do this! My goodness it was a football game and that is nothing to almost kill someone over......truly ridculus

I hope this guy recovers

11-17-2009, 09:59 PM
That is so sad.

11-17-2009, 09:59 PM
This is insane shit, who the **** would do that... i hope the guy recovers. :(

11-17-2009, 10:27 PM
wow that is insane! I sdtopped going to cin city because of the bungles fans throwing batteries. i thought that was bad , but to mess with someones life like this is just horrible. i hope they catch teh people who did it and they get the max punishment plus have to pay for the guys medical care

Steely McSmash
11-17-2009, 11:46 PM
wow, that's terrible. If anyone hears of a fund etc to help with the medical bills please post a link.

11-18-2009, 12:09 AM
un-freakin believable :mad:

hope he recovers quickly

11-18-2009, 12:12 AM
This world we live in is crazy.

My brother would tell me stories of going to Raider's games and what the fans would do to people showing up to root for the opponent and wearing their gear. Especially if they got cornered in the men's bathroom. Nothing comparable to what happened here but it was some crazy and scary stuff, and also was done in front of children.
I get loving your team, but it's sad how far people will take out their team passion and hurt another human being because of it. Insane has popped up in descriptions in this thread, and I agree. It's a great game, great diversion in life, but it's never justifiable in harming another person because they root for a different team.

11-18-2009, 12:45 AM
I hope they catch the idiots who did that!

11-18-2009, 03:01 PM
And people say we have no class? People say we take football too seriously?

Why do I get the sense that we will be targets in other cities in the near future (if we're not already)?

11-18-2009, 03:13 PM
I don't doubt this story at all, and I thought going to a game in Baltimore was bad.

11-18-2009, 03:20 PM
That is truly classless, but it happens alot more than you think. I will no longer accept a drink from anyone unless I see the bartender pour it him/herself or it is an unopened bottle of beer. After spending time overseas (had a pilot buddy drugged once in Hungary) and having my sister drugged once while I was home on vacation, I take no chances whatsoever.

Hopefully the guy makes a full recovery and the idiots who did this to him get hit with the book!

11-18-2009, 03:56 PM
It's just a freakin' game and yet some people take it to the matter of ruining a person's life.

Stay Classy Chicago!

11-18-2009, 05:05 PM
That's not right. Sure there's bantering and gloating and what have not, but a peace offering under the cloak of deception is downright horrible. I hope they catch the guy who did that and bring him over to Pittsburgh....

11-18-2009, 05:14 PM
If he does indeed go blind, the Bears fan that did this should lose his eyes, ripped out alive.

There is a saying an eye or an eye, in this case it would be justice.

11-18-2009, 05:16 PM
That's not right. Sure there's bantering and gloating and what have not, but a peace offering under the cloak of deception is downright horrible. I hope they catch the guy who did that and bring him over to Pittsburgh....

I hear ya man!

11-18-2009, 05:30 PM
hopefully he recovers, i understand football being a life, it's also an obsession of mine, but to poison someone over it? and ONE game especially (you don't poison someone over sports regardless anyway but i'm pointing out how pointless it is). just goes to show not to accept drinks from an opponent then, but anyway, i wish him luck in the recovery.

11-18-2009, 05:34 PM
There are way too many people that fail to understand the difference between a game and real life.

My wife asked if the Steelers loss tainted our trip. If I was upset. I told her, yeah, for about 5 minutes after.

Then, it was over. The memories and spending time there with her was so much more important.

People really need to get a life.

11-18-2009, 05:38 PM
Another shining example of people taking a game way, way, WAY too far.

I hope he makes a full recovery and that those Bears fans are found and brought to justice.

Christian Snyder
11-18-2009, 06:07 PM
This makes me sick! :puke:

The Patriot
11-18-2009, 06:20 PM
What a sick, psychotic, and cowardly thing to do.

11-20-2009, 01:07 PM
This is very disturbing. How can someone be this crazy? I really hope everything works out for Zack Heddinger!

11-20-2009, 01:57 PM
when i first heard of this story, my jaw dropped! i have heard of other completely insane things happening like teams throwing objects at kids in other teams jerseys or people getting jumped but to poison someones drink?! AND with something that could easily have been lethal???! in no way shape or form is this ever acceptable and I hope that if these people get away with it, they spend an eternity in hell.

And the bears won that game!! cant even imagine what they would do had they lost