Video helps reconstruct how Maple Park teen was killed
By Linda Girardi For Sun-Times Media June 19, 2014 10:36AM
Updated: June 20, 2014 2:30AM
Maple Park police have determined that a young boy killed by a freight train last month likely walked up to the train to feel the power of the wind rushing past him.
Police Chief Mike Acosta said he reviewed the video surveillance of the freight train that killed 14-year old Parker Wolfsmith, a student at Kaneland Harter Middle School, on May 31.
“You see Parker approach the train, pause a moment and get closer. Unfortunately, I think he miscalculated how close he was,” Acosta said.
He said the video verifies the teen was not pushed, did not trip and that no other kids were close to him.
Acosta said it was apparent that Parker heard the approaching train’s whistle at around 9:30 p.m. May 31 when he decided to leave the yard of a friend’s home near the Liberty Street train crossing in Maple Park.
“You see the train 45 to 50 yards away and he starts walking toward the tracks, pause for a second and when the train gets closer he moves closer yet. He was struck by the front of the train,” Acosta said.
Deadly game involved?
Acosta said the Kane County Coroner’s Office determined the boy died of massive head injuries. He said they are also waiting for toxicology results that are a normal part of an investigation of a train fatality.
The police conducted interviews with Parker’s friends and parents to help determine what happened that night. Acosta said the Union Pacific railroad video surveillance has helped verify that a so-called deadly game that is trending with kids likely was involved in this incident.
“Parker and a group of kids would talk about getting close to the train while on the school bus,” Acosta said. “They called it jumping the train, but the real name of this game is breezing. The kids like to get close enough to the train to feel the wind and power of the train that pushes them back.”
Acosta said the department is looking into having a Union Pacific public safety representative come out to talk with the area’s youth about adhering to rail crossing safety signage and laws.
“The biggest thing is for parents to tell their kids to stay away from the tracks,” Acosta said.