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Driver of van that hit boy, school charged

The entrance WoodlMiddle School Gurnee was damaged after van crashed through doors Wednesday. | Frank Abderholden~Sun-Times Media

The entrance of Woodland Middle School in Gurnee was damaged after a van crashed through the doors Wednesday. | Frank Abderholden~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 10, 2013 6:20AM



The driver of the van that backed into the Woodland Middle School doors Wednesday was charged with negligent driving and the 11-year-old sixth-grader he hit is recovering at home.

The driver was identified as Jae Pyo Kong, 67, of Mt. Prospect. He works for Dada’s Cleaners, 4649 Old Grand Ave., Gurnee, and was delivering the school’s band uniforms. No alcohol or drugs were suspected in the accident. Police said there was no blood or urine testing conducted after the accident due to it being on private school property.

Students and their parents were attending the school’s “Proof of Residency” sessions and the young boy and his father had just gone through one set of double doors on the northeast side of the building at 70000 Washington St. and were in the vestibule when the rear of the van crashed through the double doors and pinned the boy to the ground. The “jaws of life” were used by the Gurnee Fire Department to free the student. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries, including cuts and abrasions and was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center, Libertyville, for treatment.

Supt. Joy Swoboda said the young man is recovering at home now. “Our hearts go out to the student and his family that were involved in the accident,” she said. “Our support is extended to the family,” said Swoboda, who also thanks first responders.

“We have a deep appreciation for our police and fire departments and their rapid deployment. They are outstanding community partners,” she said.

The main entrance doorway was damaged, however the school itself did not sustain structural damage because the van did not hit any walls. Insurance will cover the cost of the repairs.

The driver told police he was turning around and hit the gas instead of the brakes and the van drove right through the curb cut and down the sidewalk in reverse and crashed through the double doors.

“Our focus the next couple of weeks is to continue to get ready for the ne school year Aug. 21. We are eager and excited to welcome back our students,” said Swoboda.



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