While driving to their summer home on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, former Oak Park Fire Chief Jack Sweeney and wife Jean were seriously injured in a car accident and rushed to a Rockford hospital. On Tuesday, Jack Sweeney had not regained consciousness from Friday's accident and remained in critical condition in the surgical care unit. The accident occurred near Harvard at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
One of the Sweeney's daughters, Mary Ann, said her father was driving when he began to complain of a severe headache. His wife suggested he pull over, she said, and while he was beginning to pull off the road, the car fell in a ditch. He may have suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that led to the accident.
Both were taken to Rockford Memorial Hospital where they remain. Jean Sweeney underwent surgery for a fractured elbow. She also fractured an ankle and multiple ribs.
Jack Sweeney joined the Oak Park Fire Department in 1950, working his way up to chief in 1979. He served as Oak Park's Fire Chief until he retired in 1984. The couple have five children.
Father Dan Whiteside of St. Catherine-St. Lucy Catholic Church visited the Sweeneys Saturday. "Jack was a fireman. He also has fought cancer and won, and suffered other ailments," he said about the longtime parishioner who once served as an altar boy at the church. Fr. Whiteside said Jean Sweeney's condition looked encouraging. "She's physically banged up and that's affecting her. She was doing all right," as of Saturday, he said