A 14-year-old boy has tragically passed away days after being struck by a Jeep that crashed into a sandwich shop in Hinsdale last Monday. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed on Friday morning that Sean Patrick Richards died from injuries sustained in the accident.
The crash occurred on Monday afternoon at 9 S. Lincoln St., when a vehicle crashed directly into the Fontano's subs shop. Emergency services arrived just after 2:35 p.m.
According to the police, Richards was walking on the sidewalk before the accident. The 14-year-old boy ended up on the hood of the Jeep before falling underneath the vehicle, as reported by the shop owner. He was airlifted to Comer Children's Hospital after suffering critical injuries.
The owner of Fontano's Subs stated that surveillance footage shows a Jeep coming out of Fuller's car wash across the street and crashing directly into the restaurant.
Hinsdale Police reported that a 16-year-old from Hinsdale, who worked at the car wash, was driving the Jeep.
Four other individuals, including customers, were injured in the accident.
Richards' parents issued a statement saying, "Our hearts are shattered as we inform you that our precious angel, Sean Patrick Richards, has departed to heaven on Thursday, July 20. We are devastated, and there will always be a great void in our hearts.
"Sean was a gentle soul who was always humble and kind. Full of joy, he was the most affectionate child and a friend to everyone he knew. In May, at the age of 14, he graduated from 8th grade at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School in our hometown of Hinsdale and was eager to start high school at Benet Academy in the fall.
"We are eternally grateful for the overflowing love and support that has uplifted us during these difficult days. In particular, we want to thank those from St. Isaac Jogues School and Parish, Benet Academy, and the Hinsdale communities, as well as the many friends, relatives, and strangers who have prayed for Sean and our family during this unimaginable time.
"Additionally, we would like to express our gratitude to the paramedics, doctors, and staff at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale and the pediatric intensive care unit at UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital for their excellent care.
"Please continue to pray for Sean's soul and our loving family as we mourn this tremendous loss."
A memorial has been growing outside the sandwich shop in Hinsdale as the community rallies to honor the teenager.
"It is like a blow to all of us, someone so young, so faithful, so full of life, such a good and kind person. So, let us entrust his soul to God. His family wanted to thank everyone for their prayers, and let us continue praying for them," said Father Burke Masters.
"I have known him for a long time, and it was hard to process," said Richards' friend, James Stangle. "He was probably the nicest guy in our grade. He never did anything wrong, never got into trouble, never spoke ill of anyone, always said kind things about us. He was also very smart. That was good. Sometimes he helped me study."
Students and families from St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School tied green ribbons on Thursday and attached them to trees in memory of the 14-year-old.
"If I could describe how I would want a St. Isaac graduate to be, it would be like Sean," said Principal Carol Burlinski. "He was always willing to serve others; he was here two weeks ago, helping our technology director reprint our iPads because we needed extra help. He helped livestream Mass in the church with all his skills, his kindness, and always putting others first."
He was actively involved in the church.
"Just this past Sunday, he was here serving at Mass. And then, on Monday, the accident happened. You don't want this happening to anyone, but especially to someone so young, so good, so kind, and so loving, a great family. It's just tragic," said Father Masters. "His life has impacted mine and thousands of other people here in this community, and he will be remembered for a long time in the future."
The principal said there would be grief counselors at school on Friday.
The DuPage County Task Force Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team is assisting the Hinsdale Police with the investigation.
They have interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage from businesses in the area.
The police reported that the Jeep has been confiscated, and they have downloaded data from the vehicle's "black box."
The DuPage County State's Attorney's Office informed the police that they expect a decision on charges next week.
Originally posted at Liga Legal® Abogados