Mount Prospect motorcycle crash victim remembered for warm smile, kindness
Mount Prospect resident Debbie Platz is being remembered for her kindness and warm smile that touched neighbors and many others through her longtime job at River Trails Elementary District 26.
Platz, 62, who was about to retire as a secretary at Indian Grove Elementary School in Mount Prospect, died from injuries suffered after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed Monday in North Barrington.
District 26 school board President Frank Fiarito remembered Platz's smile and kindness on her job at Indian Grove and as his Mount Prospect neighbor. She especially was compassionate toward children in the kindergarten-through-fifth-grade building if they were sick and sent to the office, he said.
"With Debbie, even on her worst days she seemed to have a smile," Fiarito said. "And that's kind of how she was. She had an infectious smile and she was just a very, very kind person."
Platz was recognized for her 29 years of service with other District 26 retirees at a dinner a couple of weeks ago, Superintendent Nancy Wagner said.
Indian Grove teachers rallied to help young students Tuesday after they became aware of Platz's death, Wagner said. District 26 social workers also were brought in to offer assistance.
"She was a very important member of our family," Wagner said.
Fiarito said the Mount Prospect neighborhood already was prepared to miss Platz because she and her husband were planning to move to Florida and spend more time with grandchildren there. The couple had a garage sale in anticipation of the move, he said.
Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper announced Thursday that preliminary autopsy results indicate Platz died of multiple traumatic injuries as a result of the motorcycle crash. She was pronounced dead at 11:14 p.m. Monday at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
Lake County sheriff's police said the crash occurred shortly before noon Monday on Miller Road, east of Oak Hills Road, in North Barrington.
Police said Platz was a passenger on the 2008 Harley-Davidson when its driver lost control of the bike when approaching a curve. The motorcycle hit a curb, tossing Platz and the driver, a 62-year-old man from Mount Prospect, from the bike, authorities said.
Sheriff's police spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said the driver's name is not being publicly released because he has not been charged. The driver was treated for injuries at Condell and released.
Fiarito said Platz and her husband were avid motorcyclists.
"They were very happy looking forward to their next life chapter," he said.
Authorities said Platz and the driver were wearing helmets when the crash happened. The wreck remains under investigation by the Lake County sheriff's office Technical Crash Investigations Unit.