Oak Park teenager dies of suspected drug overdose

Police still investigating, but believe death was accidental

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Police are still investigating an April 8 incident that left a 17-year-old Oak Park boy dead from what they suspect was an accidental drug overdose.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death for the young man won't be determined for weeks pending toxicology tests.

Police and fire officials responded to the family home for a possible drug overdose around 10:15 p.m. on April 7 after his father found the young man unresponsive and limp, said Sgt. Michael Richardson. The youth had come home with his 20-year-old girlfriend, and his father thought the two appeared intoxicated, Richardson said. A friend had driven the couple home in the father's car. The father then left the house to drive the friend home outside of Oak Park, said police Commander LaDon Reynolds.

The girlfriend was taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital. Paramedics attempted to resuscitate the boy, who was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. April 8 upon arrival at the medical examiner's office.

Reynolds said Monday that no charges had been filed in the incident. When asked if the girlfriend was still at the hospital, he said, "the investigation is continuing."

Staff at Oak Park and River Forest High School could not be reached Monday to confirm whether or not the teenager had been a student there.

Oak Park Township Supervisor David Boulanger said the township's youth services staff expressed concern about the incident at a meeting over the weekend. They said the incident should be given sufficient community attention and that the young man's family and friends should have access to counseling. Boulanger said he was open to the township providing that support, but staff needed to further discuss it.

John Williams, director of Oak Park and River Forest Township Youth Services, said he couldn't speak to the specifics of this incident, but said in general, there are more kids in the area both using and dealing drugs. The product gets cheaper because of the abundance of sellers, he said.

Heroin in particular is cheap and "very easy to get" in Cook County, Williams said, but users don't know how pure it is when they buy it.

Close to 400 people joined a Facebook memorial page for the boy that was created April 9. The page includes photos and messages to him and his family.

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