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

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 2:18 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Al Lagattolla – alagattolla@shawmedia.com)
Flowers and a balloon sit Wednesday near the southwest segment of the intersection of Main and Liberty streets in Maple Park. On Saturday, 14-year-old Parker Wolfsmith, a Kaneland Harter Middle School eighth-grader, died near the intersection after he was hit by a train. The school held its eighth-grade promotion event on Tuesday night.

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

Wolfsmith died Saturday night, hit by a Union Pacific railroad train at the crossing at Liberty and Main streets in Maple Park. 

The drop-in center will be open at 3 p.m. today and Thursday at the police station, at 302 Willow St., Maple Park. Police Chief Mike Acosta said officers will be there "for those individuals who are still trying to deal with this tragedy."

Also, funeral arrangements and visitation plans have been set in McHenry County. Visitation will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Justen Funeral Home, 3700 W. Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry. The funeral service will be at 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. For information, call the funeral home at 815-385-2400 or visit www.justenfh.com

According to the obituary, Wolfsmith is survived by his father, Michael Wolfsmith; his mother, Amy Opfer; a sister, Summer Wolfsmith; his maternal grandmother, Mary Kennedy; his paternal grandmother, Jean Walrack; and aunts and uncles, Lisa Opfer, Mary Ellen Sullivan, William Wolfsmith, and Donald Opfer. 

Wolfsmith moved into the Kaneland School District 302 boundaries before the beginning of his eighth-grade year. Acosta said Wolfsmith previously lived in McHenry. 

Acosta said Wolfsmith had attended the police department's drop-in nights – which run from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the station. In fact, he said Wolfsmith had been there on Saturday night, before the train incident, which took place at about 9:30 p.m. Acosta said his understanding is that Wolfsmith "was trying to see how close he could get to the tracks." He said that the police are planning to have railroad officials provide safety sessions on how to be safe around the tracks.

A display of balloons and flowers now sits near the crossing, on the side of the road south of the tracks at the intersection of Liberty and Main streets in Maple Park.

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 Caityln Phillips, a Harter student in the same class who died last year while inline skating in Elburn. Schuler said both Wolfsmith and Phillips' parents were in attendance at the ceremony Tuesday.

Acosta said the Maple Park Village Board observed a moment of silence in Wolfsmith's honor before Tuesday night's meeting.

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