Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Walnut Street was quiet Friday night approaching 10 PM, almost serene. A residential road northwest of Michelle Obama School, the street connects Westgate Drive on the south with Winnebago Street on the north. At this hour, the only traffic was a man walking his dog. Friday afternoon, however, the road was the scene of an unimaginable tragedy. A 7-year-old child was struck by a school bus and would later die, Park Forest police said in a statement.
According to police, Friday afternoon at approximately 3:13 PM, a 7-year-old child was struck by a school bus in the 100 block of Walnut Street. The boy was seriously injured. The family immediately began life-saving measures until police and paramedics arrived to continue treatment, the statement said.
Park Forest paramedics transported the child to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, police said.
The bus involved is owned by Kickert Bus Company and was transporting students from Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 at the time of the incident, police said. The driver has not been charged as of late Friday night, Police Chief Paul Winfrey told eNews Park Forest.
“The driver is being interviewed and we are conducting a complete investigation,” Chief Winfrey said. Witnesses are also being interviewed by Park Forest Police investigators, police said.
School District 163 and the Park Forest Police Department are arranging for counselors to be available both over the weekend and at the start of the school week next Monday to provide services to students and staff, police said.
Police stressed in their statement that the investigation is in its preliminary stage. Charges may be filed in relation to the crash, but that is not known at this time.
This incident is being investigated by the Park Forest Police Department and the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team (SMART). SMART is a multi-agency accident investigation team made up of accident investigators from surrounding suburban agencies including Park Forest, Chicago Heights, Richton Park, and Thornton. Park Forest will assign another officer to SMART in the next few days, Chief Winfrey told ENEWSPF.
Anyone who may have information on this matter is urged to call the Park Forest Police Investigations Division at 708-748-1309.
“The men and women of the Park Forest Police Department grieve for the child’s family and for the tragic loss of this child’s life,” police said, concluding their statement.
We grieve as well.
The map shows Walnut Street in Park Forest.