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Maple Park police open doors for those mourning teen's death

Police open doors for those mourning Parker Wolfsmith

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:44 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:46 p.m. CST
Caption
(Al Lagattolla – alagattolla@sh)
Flowers and a balloon are seen Wednesday near the southwest segment of the intersection of Main and Liberty streets in Maple Park. On Saturday, Kaneland Harter Middle School eighth-grader Parker Wolfsmith, 14, died near the intersection after he was hit by a train.

MAPLE PARK – Police in Maple Park expanded their drop-in program for youths, welcoming them Wednesday and today, days after the death of 14-year-old Kaneland Harter Middle School student Parker Wolfsmith.

Wolfsmith was killed Saturday night, when he was hit by a Union Pacific train at the crossing at Liberty and Main streets in Maple Park while trying to see how close he could get to the tracks, said Police Chief Mike Acosta, who is still investigating the incident. The drop-in center will be open at 3 p.m. today at the police station at 302 Willow St. in Maple Park.

Acosta said officers will be there "for those individuals who are still trying to deal with this tragedy."

Josh Salisbury, who helps coordinate the drop-in center, said several had showed up as of Wednesday.

Wolfsmith had attended the police department's drop-in nights, which run from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the station, but had not attended the night of the train incident.

"It seemed that he was a very well-rounded young man," Salisbury said.

Two sets of funeral arrangements have been made. Wolfsmith moved into the Kaneland School District 302 boundaries before the beginning of his eighth-grade year, but he previously lived in McHenry.

In Kane County, the memorial visitation will be from 4 to 9 p.m., with a wake service to begin 7 p.m. Friday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. The Rev. Tim Seigel, pastor of St. Gall Catholic Church, Elburn, will officiate. A private family burial will follow cremation at a later date.

In light of the incident, Acosta said the police are planning to have railroad officials provide safety sessions on how to be safe around the tracks.

Acosta said he plans to view Union Pacific's video as part of the investigation.

Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said most trains are equipped with recorders for many purposes, including pedestrian incidents, grade-crossing collisions and employee safety reviews. He said, typically, that those with the railroad police will show them to agencies, but Union Pacific does not turn over the tapes.

Harter Middle School had a promotion ceremony Tuesday night for eighth-graders completing their school year.

Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said there was an insert in the program for the event that addressed both Wolfsmith and Caitlyn Phillips, a Harter student in the same class who died last year while inline skating in Elburn. Schuler said both Wolfsmith and Phillips' parents attended the ceremony.

Youth drop-in program

Those interested in the Maple Park Police drop-in program could call 815-827-3286, and select mailbox four, or send an email at jsalisbury@villageofmaplepark.com.

Memorial fund established

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established. Checks may be made to the “Parker Wolfsmith Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.

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