June 18, 2024 6:00 AM
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Tragedy Strikes in Chicago and Houston

by Jeanne Brei


Tragedy Strikes in Chicago As Duane Tabinski Electrocuted During NASCAR Setup

Duane Tabinski obitUnfortunately, in Chicago, the news turned tragic at the July 2 NASCAR Chicago Street Race in Grant Park, the first street race in NASCAR Cup Series history, when Duane Tabinski (pictured left), 53, was electrocuted while setting up for the race on June 30.

Chicago-Street-Race-NASCAR-decalTabinski was setting up his original TracPac systems in front of the main grandstands near the race starting line, west of Buckingham Fountain, when he was electrocuted.  A witness heard him groan and found him slumped over in the 500 block of South Columbus, but couldn’t reach him to help because he was in a “padlock” area, with high-voltage electricity circulating. Paramedics were also unable to reach him until the danger was ”diffused.” First responders took Tabinski to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on Friday morning. Coroners confirmed his cause of death was due to accidental electrocution, caused by contact with electric wires.

Tabinski, VP Chief Operations Officer and founder of Nashville-based DUANE, a staging and lighting company, had worked on hundreds of big events, including concerts for Katy Perry and ZZ Top. With more than 30 years in the live event production business, he had worked for some the biggest names in music (Toby Keith, Old Crow Live, ZZ Top, Boston, Bob Dylan, Katy Perry, Alanis Morissette and more) not to Duane Tabinski with wife in 30s outfitmention many large and small corporate events. Most recently, he worked on CMA Fest 2023 and had been slated to deal with audio equipment at more NASCAR races in the future.

His company sent out a statement by Twitter that read: “The DUANE team is shocked and saddened to inform you of Duane Tabinski’s passing earlier today. He was busy doing what he loved, providing a top-of-the-line audio experience for the enjoyment of others. A very giving and caring soul, Duane will be missed. Updates to come.” Tabinski is survived by his wife of eight years, Kristin (pictured left with him), nine siblings, five children and seven grandchildren.

Tragedy Strikes in Houston As Kevin Shawn Brant Passes Away

kevin shawn brant 216x323The last week also saw sad news from Houston’s Local 551 when carpenter Kevin Shawn Brant (pictured right and below) passed away. Brant had worked with Nth Degree and Nuvista and many co-workers expressed their condolences on Facebook. Pete Peters wrote, “That’s a tough loss. Kevin was a good guy. Condolences to the Nth family.” Joey Norman added, “A smile that will never fade and a heart that wouldn’t stop helping others. You will be missed Kevin!!” Carolynn Julkowski Cunningham wrote, “Just worked with him in February. He was a great person to have on the team. Prayers to his family.” Steve Scranton wrote, “Ahh dude, saw Kevin earlier this year on kevin shawn brant 3 crop 300x320a show. I also worked with him a lot on Nuvista jobs with Bill Russell. Rest in Peace Kevin.” Ariel Zuniga wrote, “I remember your son’s great attitude and warm, infectious smile when I worked with him in TX. Condolences.” Sandy Spears added, “You will be missed Kevin!!!!!! You always had a smile that was so contagious, and always lifted everyone around you!!!!!! It was so great working with you all those years!!!! Love you man!!!!!!” And his mom, Sandy Middleton-Keefer, wrote, “My heart is broken. My son, Kevin Shawn Brant, passed away Friday in Houston, Texas in his apartment. They found his body last night. He was my star bright. We talked/texted at least three times a week. I can’t believe he’s gone. Love you my sweet son…”

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