A Lyons Township High School student suffered severe injuries after a May 1 beating near this exit. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

A Lyons Township High School student suffered severe injuries after a May 1 beating near this exit. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

LTHS beating victim remains hospitalized as details emerge

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By Steve Metsch

The Lyons Township High School student who suffered “major head trauma” in a fight outside the north campus three weeks ago remains hospitalized, a source said last week.

The youth – whose name, age, town and year in school have not been released – was attacked by at least three other youths while leaving the high school’s north campus around 4:10 p.m. May 1.

His injuries were so severe, he was airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital where, a source said, he is sedated but breathing on his own.

Two youths have been arrested thus far by La Grange Police, and a third is being sought.

One juvenile was charged on May 10 with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery/great bodily harm.

Another LTHS student, James Hernandez Jr., 18, of Brookfield, was charged with battery on May 5.

At the May 22 school board meeting, School District 204 Supt. Brian Waterman issued a prepared statement.

“Both of our students are still receiving medical treatment for their injuries. Our hearts and our well wishes continue to be with them, their families and their loved ones,” Waterman said.

He was referring to the student injured in the May 1 fight and another student who was hit by a car outside the north campus on May 10.

Regarding the student injured on May 1, Waterman said the school district was working with police, adding it “must be clear this is still an ongoing investigation.”

The “isolated incident” does not pose a threat to the surrounding community, he said.

“This is such a challenging time for our community and our student services staff continues to provide support for our students,” he said.

“In addition, school safety has and will continue to be a point of discussion. With 4,000 students and 400 plus staff spread across two campuses, safety is always our No. 1 concern,” Waterman said.

“We regularly review and update our safety response which includes a wide variety of areas,” he added.

During the school board meeting, a spokesman for the teachers’ union said “our hearts break for (the injured students) and hope they are able to recover.”

The May 1 fight, a source said, had its start the previous Friday, April 28.

That’s when two groups of students clashed in Elm Park, which is across Brainard Avenue from the north campus. The student injured on May 1 was involved in that fracas, the source said.

Police have not said why the fight started.

On May 22, a reporter visited nine homes on Park Road, facing the west side of the north campus building where the attack happened near Exit 7.

Residents answered the door in four of those nine houses. None of the residents witnessed the fight.

One woman said neighbors that evening were busy texting one another, seeing information.

“Wait a minute, what the heck is going on,” she recalled. “Most of us weren’t here which is really odd because I work from home and I’m usually here at that time.”

“I just know (the fight) was brutal and he was airlifted,” she said. “The way it was explained to me, it was vicious.”

She was not surprised that nobody spoke about the fight in the public participation portion of the school board meeting.

“We know we’re not going to hear anything. They’re tight-lipped about this.”

One man called the fight “a shame,” noting the lives of each student involved has been greatly altered for the worse.

He was glad to hear the student had not died from his injuries.

“I heard they were ‘curbing’ him,” the man said, meaning slamming the student’s head into the curb.

Two girls who said they attend Lyons Township said they knew nothing about the fight.

A second woman said she and her husband were home on May 1, but didn’t see the fight.

“I got home from work at 4. There was nothing happening. The next thing we know, we saw the ambulance,” she said.

“My husband and I were in the back of the house. He was in his office. I was in the kitchen,” she said. “Nothing. I’ve got nothing. It’s just all a big mystery.”

A third woman who lives on the block said, “We just saw the police cars come. There’s always shouting at the school.”

“I wish I knew more. Sorry,” she said, adding, “I’m glad he’s alive.”

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