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Police expect more answers soon on teen’s death

Maple Park police chief to view train video

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:40 a.m. CDT

MAPLE PARK – By next week, Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta expects to have a clearer picture about what happened on the night that 14-year-old Parker Wolfsmith died after he was hit by a train.

The incident took place about 9:30 p.m. May 31 at the North Liberty Street railroad crossing in Maple Park. Acosta said police have been investigating. He said on June 18, he plans to view the video from the train with a representative from Union Pacific.

"I think we're pretty close to closing it out," Acosta said. "We just want to verify it by looking at the video."

Acosta said the thought is that Wolfsmith "had the tendency to stay close to the trains when they came by. He liked doing that." He said it doesn't appear that it was a case where the teen was taking a "selfie" – a self-portrait using a smartphone or similar device – near the train.

"This, I don't think, was the case," Acosta said. "He just liked to be close to the train. … This time, he got too close."

Maple Park police officials last week expanded the hours of their weekly drop-in sessions with youths, in hopes of providing an opportunity for friends and classmates to talk about Wolfsmith. Acosta said some youths did come by to talk. He said after a drop-in session on Friday night, some youths and parents gathered for a memorial near the Liberty Street crossing. He said 15 to 20 youths showed up.

"Whoever wanted to talk about Parker did," Acosta said, adding participants said prayers and lighted candles.

Visitation services also took place Friday for Wolfsmith. According to Wolfsmith's obituary, a memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the "Parker Wolfsmith Memorial" and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may be forwarded to the same address or on the Web at www.conleycare.com.

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