Son of Rantoul man drowns in Chicago-area forest preserve

Son of Rantoul man drowns in Chicago-area forest preserve

SHOREWOOD — A Rantoul man's son drowned June 16 while swimming with friends in the DuPage River.

Michael K. Hughes, 24, of Itasca drowned about 3 a.m. near the intersection of River and Mound roads, according to the Will County coroner's office. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Joliet Herald-News.

An autopsy and medical and toxicology reports were expected to determine the cause of death. A spokesperson for the Will County coroner's office said Monday that tests results are not yet available.

Mr. Hughes and his friends had gone to a nearby bar and later decided to go swimming in the Hammel Woods preserve's Illinois 59 access, forest district spokesman Bruce Hodgdon said. The current began to sweep the men downstream.

Mr. Hughes' friends tried to exit the water and "they couldn't pull him up," Hodgdon said. "They didn't have enough strength. They couldn't pull him out of the water and save themselves at the same time."

Hodgdon said the flow of the DuPage River near a lowhead dam "is very vigorous."

Forest preserve district police Lt. Tracy Phillips said the men were diving off a dam in the river when the incident occurred. She said swimming near the dam is dangerous.

"If you are swimming there, you will drown," Phillips told the Herald-News. "It sucks you right under, and it's 18 feet (deep)."

The preserve was closed at the time of the incident, Hodgdon said. He said swimming is prohibited at all times in all forest preserves, including Hammel Woods.

Mr. Hughes' father and stepmother, Michael R. and Laura Hughes, live in Rantoul, and his paternal stepgrandmother, Cobina Reynolds, lives in Farmer City.

A May graduate of Roosevelt University, he was a credit consultant with Midwest Corporate Credit and owner of Premium Wealth Builders.

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