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Teen's death prompts railway safety event in Maple Park

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 5:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 9:07 a.m. CDT

MAPLE PARK – The death of Parker Wolfsmith – the teen fatally struck by a train in May – has prompted the Maple Park Police Department and Union Pacific to hold a railway safety seminar tonight.

“We felt the need to join up with Union Pacific police to get some sort of safety program,” said Josh Salisbury, youth programs coordinator with the Maple Park police. “I know the parents of the community really want this program.”

Parents and children of all ages are welcome at the seminar, which starts at 6 p.m. in the Maple Park Civic Center, 302 Willow St., Maple Park.

“The more people we can educate, the better off we are,” Salisbury said.

In addition to a presentation by Jim Magner, who runs the Operation Lifesaver program for Union Pacific, Salisbury said he will answer questions about Wolfsmith’s death.

Police have said the 14-year-old Kaneland Harter Middle School student was engaging in an activity called breezing when he was hit by a train on May 31 at the North Liberty Street railroad crossing in Maple Park.

Breezing has been described as an activity where people try to get as close to a train as possible to feel the breeze. Salisbury said police are trying to avoid future breezing incidents and that no age is too young to learn about railroad safety.

“The earlier we start them, the safer they’ll be,” he said.

The seminar is expected to last about 60 to 90 minutes. Residents of other communities are welcome, Salisbury said.

He said more seminars might be planned.

“If we need more,” he said, “we’ll do more.”

Those who cannot attend tonight’s seminar but want the safety information should contact Salisbury at jsalisbury@villageofmaplepark.com or 815-827-3286, he said, noting callers should select mailbox 4 if he is unavailable.

If you go

What: Railway safety seminar

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Maple Park Civic Center, 302 Willow St., Maple Park

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