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Local

Kaneland community mourns death of eighth-grader

MAPLE PARK – The Kaneland School District 302 community is mourning the death of a Harter Middle School eighth-grade student who was struck by a Union Pacific train Saturday.

Parker Wolfsmith, 14, was hit by a train about 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the North Liberty Street railroad crossing in Maple Park, according to the Maple Park Police Department. Police Chief Mike Acosta said Monday the incident is not being investigated as a suicide.

According to a news release from the Kane County Coroner's Office, Wolfsmith was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:01 p.m. Saturday. The cause of death was ruled as blunt-force trauma to the head, according to the release.

Acosta said Wolfsmith, who resided just outside the Maple Park village limits, was with a group of people, but that Wolfsmith was the only one near the train crossing at the time. Acosta said he is waiting for film footage from the train that could provide more details about what happened.

District 302 Superintendent Jeff Schuler said Wolfsmith had moved into the district at the beginning of his eighth-grade year. Schuler said staff members described Wolfsmith as "a fun-loving bright guy" with a "great sense of humor." Schuler said the district had a "full complement of support staff" available to students on Monday.

The district's eighth-graders are to participate in a promotion and dance at 6:30 p.m. today. Schuler said that event would go on as scheduled.

"Certainly, it creates a very difficult circumstance under which some of our students are going to be attending that celebratory event," Schuler said.

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