(MCT) — James Hall had just left his daughter's home in Libertyville on Thursday morning when his family heard emergency sirens several blocks away.
His son, Libertyville firefighter and paramedic Mike Hall, stepped out of the house to see what was happening. Then he got a call that made his heart sink.
“It was one of the police officers saying, 'Get over here right now,'“ said Mike Hall, who was off duty at the time and helping paint his sister’s house. “You get that sick feeling.”
When he arrived at Rockland School, 160 Rockland Road, Mike Hall found his 69-year-old father unconscious in his pickup truck, which had just crashed into the school's playground.
Although an autopsy was still pending Thursday evening to determine what caused the death, Mike Hall thinks it may have been a heart attack or other ailment.
The son said that his father was a careful driver, which is why he thinks a medical condition led to the crash. No one was on the playground, nor was anyone else in the vehicle.
“My father drives 10 miles under the speed limit,” Hall said.
“We're so happy none of the kids were out in the schoolyard and no one was hurt,” he added. “He was an extremely caring and wonderful person.”
Authorities have not said what caused the crash or Hall's death. Police continue to investigate.
Police responded to Rockland School, 160 W. Rockland Road, about 10:41 a.m. and found a 2007 Dodge pickup truck in the playground, Libertyville police said.
The driver was unresponsive and was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The playground “was unoccupied; nobody was outside,” said police Lt. Scott Fabbri.
“Our heart goes out to the family involved,” said Guy Schumacher, superintendent of Libertyville Elementary District 70. “We’re very grateful none of our parents or children or staff were out there at the time.”
Schumacher said school staff members and administrators immediately flocked to the scene to help. He said the pickup crashed through a fence, striking signs and trees.
Police closed Rockland Road for more than two hours after the crash.