WAUKEGAN -- Solemn prayers echoed through St. Mary's Orthodox Christian Church in Waukegan Sunday, as parents at the grief-stricken parish held their children a bit tighter, having just been reminded of how frail and fleeting life can be.
On Saturday, 10-year-old Reeve Matthew, who was set to become an altar boy, died when he was thrown from an SUV during a crash on the tri-state.
He was traveling with his aunt, uncle and four others as part of a church trip to Holy Hill in Wisconsin. Two adults were seriously injured in the crash, and an 11-year-old boy was also thrown from the vehicle. That boy was taken to the hospital; Reeve, however, died on the scene.
Matthew's teachers remembered him as a young boy, full of curiosity and energy.
“He was quite shy, but at the same time, there was that thinking in his eyes and his dimpled smile always made it a pleasure to have him in class,” said Claudine Mardehow, a teacher at Woodland Elementary School.
Deacon Jake Jacob recalled a church trip to Michigan during which Matthew showed a budding intellect, and a certain comfort with his faith.
“On the way back he slept on my shoulder the whole car ride, and I was really touched by that, he really just felt like a younger brother to me,” Jacob said.
A funeral had not yet been set as of Sunday evening, but church officials say it will most likely be Thursday or Friday.
The driver of the SUV was cited for improper lane usage, and improper child restraint, and the 11-year-old remains hospitalized in Libertyville, Ill.