Jefferson Park area man dies after car crashes into light pole in Harwood Heights
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
A Jefferson Park area man was killed in a grisly car crash at about 8:40 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the 6700 block of West Forest Preserve Drive in the Village of Harwood Heights.
Harwood Heights police located a red 2000 Pontiac Grand Am and determined the vehicle was driving west on Forest Preserve Drive and drove off the road and struck a light pole at 6726 W. Forest Preserve Drive and landed in front of a home, according to a news release.
Officers said that the Grand Am had very extensive damage on its driver’s side and that the driver suffered severe fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced dead on the scene, the release said.
Harwood Heights chief of police John DeVries did not return calls or messages asking for more details, including how fast the car was going or if other circumstances were a factor.
People on social media are speculating about the cause of the crash but nothing has been verified.
The deceased was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Jack Kraak, age 20, of the 5600 block of West Giddings Street. A cause and manner of death are pending, the examiner said.
Kraak was a 2021 graduate of Notre Dame College Prep High School where he was in a boxing club for at least a year, the school said. His boxing name was Jack “Lumberjack” Kraak, according to published reports. He was also a graduate of Saint John Lutheran School and attended Triton College, according to the school.
His sister, Rachel Kraak, posted a letter on her Facebook page following the death of her second brother.
“This is taking all of my strength to write this right now … as many of you know, on March 30th my brother Jack Kraak was in a fatal car accident and did not make it. I am heartbroken and I don’t want to accept this,” she wrote.
“If any of you knew the dynamic between my siblings and I, then you know how close we are. Jack, I love you so much and I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. I know how much you missed Dylan Kraak so I pray that you two are together, being a nuisance up there, and laughing your asses off.”
“I keep wanting to see your red car out my window and hear you yell “REEEEEEE!!” I’m so sad and I’m so angry. I’ll never understand this and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to accept this … There was so much I wanted to do with you and memories that I wanted to keep making with you. I hate this and it’s not fair,” Rachel Kraak wrote.
She wrote that Kraak’s wake will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 7, at the Cooney Funeral Home, 625 Busse Hwy., Park Ridge.