Prospect High student killed in Arlington Heights crash
On paper, John "Jack" Gavin was the middle brother of three, a Prospect High School volleyball player and an honors student.
But, according to his mother, that was just the beginning.
"He was the bright spot in my day," said Susan Gavin of Arlington Heights. "He was a wonderful son and a wonderful brother, such a sweet kid to everyone. He was very, very loved."
Gavin, 16, died Thursday morning after the car he was riding in slammed into a tree just after midnight in Arlington Heights, police said.
He died shortly before 8 a.m. at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Officers responding to a 911 call from a passing driver and nearby residents got to the 400 block of South Windsor about 12:40 a.m. to find a 2000 Hyundai Sonata crashed into a tree on the boulevard in the middle of the street.
Gavin, the front-seat passenger, was unresponsive when officers arrived, and rescue crews had to remove the car's roof to pull the boy out.
The 16-year-old driver was examined and released to a parent at the scene.
Susan Gavin said her son and the driver were friends and she doesn't hold the other boy responsible for her Jack's death.
"From what I understand, he wasn't speeding. He just hit a patch of ice and hit a tree," said the mother who has lived in Arlington Heights with her husband, Mike, for more than 20 years. The couple has two other sons, Jimmy, 19, and Grant, 13.
Jack just got his driver's license in September, Susan Gavin said.
Police said both boys were using seat belts, and the air bags deployed inside the vehicle as designed.
A preliminary investigation indicated the Hyundai was heading south on Windsor when the driver failed to negotiate a bend in the roadway, police said.
The car was traveling only slightly above the 25 mph speed limit before the crash, officials said, but the roadway was wet from the snow flurries that were falling.
An accident reconstructionist has been assigned to conduct an in-depth investigation into the crash, said Capt. Nicholas A. Pecora Jr. of the Arlington Heights Police Department, adding that alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor. It will be at least a week before the investigation is complete.
No citations or criminal charges have been issued, he said.
Things that will be taken into consideration include the restrictions on the licenses of young drivers and what the physical evidence shows about the speed of the vehicle, Pecora said.
According to the secretary of state's website, a driving restriction or curfew is in place for those age 16 and 17 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weeknights. It is allowed for these young drivers to have one other unrelated passenger under the age of 20.
The Cook County medical examiner's office has scheduled an autopsy Friday.
Prospect Principal Kurt Laakso said Gavin will be missed from his school's hallways come Monday, when students return from a week of spring break.
"He was a good kid who had a lot of friends," Laakso said. "He was one of those very involved students."
Counselors will meet on Friday to put together a crisis plan for when students return on Monday, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 spokeswoman Venetia Miles said.