Railroad News

Student Killed by Union Pacific Train on Unfenced Tracks

(Maple Park, Illinois – May 31, 2014)

Barely three days before his scheduled graduation from Maple Park Kaneland School District’s Harter Middle School, a 14-year-old eighth grade student was struck and killed at about 9:35 P.M. Saturday night near the Liberty Street crossing of the Union Pacific double-track railroad line which, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, accommodates a daily average of 74 trains at a top permissible speed of 70 mph.

Satellite photo surveillance of the scene where Parker Wolfsmith was killed on impact by the UPRR freight train (whose locomotive nose video camera film is yet to be studied by Maple Park Police) shows no security fencing to keep pedestrians off the tracks.

Described by Kaneland School District Supt. Dr. Jeff Schuler as a “fun loving student,” and that “he was somebody certainly well-liked within our community,” Wolfsmith ‘s classes’ graduation will still go on as scheduled Tuesday night.

Wolfsmith was with several other people Saturday night, but was the only one walking near the railroad tracks, according to Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta, who added that neither foul play nor suicide, were being considered as factors in the tragedy.

Supt. Schuler said that “We want to extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to Parker’s family and friends,” and commended the school’s students and faculty, whom he said have “been certainly resilient and have come together as a close school community” through the sad situation.