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High School Runner Killed By Car During Cross Country Practice

Patrick Mizwicki

Patrick Mizwicki, a Lincolnway East High School cross country runner died last night after being hit by a car while running in a Cook County forest preserve near Swallow Cliff Woods. (Supplied photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A runner participating in a high school cross-country practice on Thursday was struck and killed by a car.

Patrick Mizwicki, 14, who ran for Lincolnway East, was killed while running on a training path in Palos Township.

Mizwicki was running eastbound on a horse trail through Teason Woods when he stopped to allow a southbound vehicle to pass. He then attempted to cross 104th Avenue, but his view of an oncoming northbound car was obstructed by a passing southbound car, according to a news release from the Cook County Sheriff.

The driver of the northbound vehicle hit her brakes but was unable to avoid striking Mizwicki.

Lincolnway School District 210 spokeswoman Stacy Holland said the area is “a common place to run. In fact, there were six other schools up there running.”

Mizwicki was transported to Christ Hospital in critical condition. He passed away at approximately 11:00 p.m. Thursday.

The driver, who remained at the scene and cooperated fully, was issued minor citations for failure to yield at a cross walk and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. No further charges are pending.

Classmates Hunter Shadden and Annie Gerdes have known Pat since the third grade.

“He was such a great friend,” Gerdes said. “I would see him in the hallways and he just had the biggest smile on his face everyday.”

Shadden said: “He was just an all around good kid.”

Counselors visited each of Mizwicki’s classes today at Lincoln-Way East to talk to classmates and fellow students.

“This has a big impact on some of our teachers as well who worked with Patrick last year,’ said School District 157-C Supt. Tom Hurlburt.

Teachers from Chelsea Elementary School, where Patrick attended elementary school, were trying to understand the tragedy.

“His fifth-grade teacher is pretty distraught as well,” said Hurlburt.

School officials are going to review safety procedures for the runners.

For now though, Lincoln Way East’s focus is helping those who knew Mizwicki cope.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff, and students of Lincoln-Way, we want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family of Patrick Mizwicki,” Supt. Lawrence A. Wyllie said in a statement. “Patrick was a freshman at East, a member of the cross-country team, and the youngest of eight children in his family. He was well liked and already had been involved in school activities.”