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Teen dies after car slams into Hinsdale sub shop

Teenage boy hurt by Jeep crashing into Hinsdale sub shop has died
Teenage boy hurt by Jeep crashing into Hinsdale sub shop has died 02:19

HINSDALE, Ill. (CBS) -- A teen was killed and four people were injured when a Jeep plowed into a sub shop in Hinsdale Monday afternoon.

The accident happened just after 2:30 p.m. at Fontano's Subs and Deli, at 9 S. Lincoln St. in the western suburb.

Sean Richards, 14, was hit and left in critical condition. Late Thursday night, officials at St. Walter School confirmed Richards died. 

He was an alum of St. Isaac Jogues, a partner school in the diocese. 

Sean's parents, Kristine and Brian Richards, released the following statement: 

"Our hearts are broken as we inform you that our precious angel, Sean Patrick Richards, went to heaven Thursday, July 20. We are devastated and will forever have a large hole in our hearts.

"Sean was a gentle soul who was always both humble and kind. Full of joy, he was the most loving child and was a friend to everyone he met. In May, at age 14, he graduated 8th grade at St. Isaac Jogues Parish Catholic School in our hometown of Hinsdale and he was eager to begin high school at Benet Academy in the fall."


Three customers at the sub shop who were either struck by the car or debris were also hospitalized in serious condition.   

"He, like I said, was across the street – I think with his mom or somebody – getting the car washed, and the car that lost control actually carried him all the way to here," said Fontano's Subs owner Dominic Fontano.

A fourth customer was treated and released at the scene.

Police say the driver of the Jeep wasn't hurt - and they are investigating what caused the crash and if charges could be filed. 

The driver is a 16-year-old boy who works at Fuller's Car Wash, across the street from Fontano's Subs. He was taking the car out of the bay at the carwash at the time of the crash.

A community mourns

Four days after the accident, it hurt to stop on the Hinsdale sidewalk where the accident happened.

"I've known him since I was in kindergarten. We were really good friends," said Josh Havelka. "It's sad. It's really sad."

But Josh must say goodbye to Sean, his friend and cross-country teammate.

"He was running all the time. Like, I'd be walking down Hinsdale. I'd see him. Like, 'Hi Sean!'" Josh said. "He's like, 'Yeah, I'm just running five miles - and I'll be back.' Yeah, he was really good at what he did."

John Darrow was Sean's summer running coach for the West Suburban Harriers.

"I just loved everything about that young man," Darrow said. "I wish I could capture everything my heart's feeling. I mean, it's broken."

Sean had just graduated eighth grade at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School.

"If you walk past there now, there's ribbons everywhere," said Josh.

At the school, teammates honored their friends with ribbons – and a run.

"We ended up running as many miles as we could. I did two miles. Some kids did as much as three and four," Josh said. "This no longer you're running for yourself. This is like – there's no winner. Just run for Sean."

"When you're going through grief, it's hard to get the energy up to do things," added Darrow, "and for them to go out there and run, it's because of how much they loved him."

Hinsdale now honors a life lost – but it can't hide the hurt.

"Absolute angel," Darrow said. "I mean, you can't say anything but wonderful things about him."

Police are waiting for test results from the Illinois State Police crime lab, which should be completed within the next two weeks. Once those results are in, police will consult with DuPage County prosecutors to determine if charges will be filed.

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