Fatal Metra incident in Lake Forest delays train service in Evanston

Marshall Cohen

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A fatal Metra incident in Lake Forest temporarily shut down the Union Pacific North Line during rush hour Tuesday morning, creating significant delays to southbound train service through Evanston, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

Lake Forest Police responded to 1351 N. Western Ave., near the local Metra station, after receiving a report at 7:37 a.m. of “a body lying on the tracks,” Deputy Chief Glenn Burmeister said.

LFPD Officers and paramedics found a 15-year-old Lake Forest resident already dead, Burmeister said.

The victim was identified as William Laskero-Teskoski, a freshman at Lake Forest High School, according to the Chicago Tribune. Burmeister said the freshman’s parents were “rather distraught” when officers visited their home.

It is currently unknown whether the death was a suicide or accidental, according to a statement issued by Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey, who removed the body from the scene.

Yancey told The Daily the autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday night and said he could not estimate when a cause of death could be officially determined.

“We’ve still got to pull some investigative information that we’ve developed as well as what Lake Forest Police has developed,” Yancey said. “I can’t give a timeline on that.”

Gillis said the Lake Forest incident caused major delays and temporarily closed the Union Pacific North line during peak service hours.

Evanston has three Metra stops on the UP-N line, all south of Lake Forest, which were affected by the incident.

“We have to halt our service until local authorities could complete the investigation,” Gillis said. “Many of our rush hour trains could not get through to the bulk of the UP-North ridership, which is south of Lake Forest.”

Commuters were alerted of the delays through announcements on Metra’s website and via email alerts sent to subscribers, Gillis said. Announcements were also made through speaker systems at affected train platforms.

Another Metra spokesman told Lake Forest news website Gazebo News the train involved was an inbound Metra No. 320 that departed Kenosha, Wis., at 6:53 a.m. and was heading toward downtown Chicago.

One track reopened at about 9 a.m., and full service resumed at 10:47 a.m., Gillis said.

Gillis said Metra has its own police department and its officers have full authority to make arrests and issue citations. However, LFPD led the inquiry into Tuesday’s incident, and the investigation is still ongoing, Burmeister said.

LFPD obtained subpoenas for the victim’s telephone and Facebook records, Burmeister said. Police will also examine video surveillance from the scene of the incident.

“We try to get to the cause of everything and try to figure out what happened,” Burmeister said. “Part of that is putting together a timeline from the last time someone saw him, what his state of mind was and that sort of thing.”

Lake Forest High School Principal Jay Hoffmann emailed a letter to parents with the news.

“Will Laskero-Teskowski was a well-liked freshman at Lake Forest High School who will be remembered as a young man who was always smiling and was happiest when he was surrounded by his friends and teammates,” Hoffmann wrote in the letter. “He was a hard worker in class, a great asset to our football team and a budding track star coming to us after a successful track career in Junior High.”

Last month in a separate incident, a Lake Forest High School student, also 15 years old, committed suicide at the same Metra station.