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Sunday sorrow

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Traffic accident near Quincy and drowning
in a Michigan lake claim two area lives

  Two weekend tragedies within an hour and a half of each other claimed the lives of an Evergreen Park man and a Chicago Ridge woman and left a Chicago Ridge man seriously injured, according to police.

  The first accident occurred Sunday morning on U.S. Hwy. 24 in Camp Point, Ill., a small town outside of Quincy.
  Karin M. Kirchman, 53, of Chicago Ridge, was killed and her husband, Ronald L. Kirchman Jr., also 53, was seriously injured when the Harley-Davidson motorcycle on which they were riding was struck by a car that crossed into the path of the bike, police said.
  Karin Kirchman was a passenger on the motorcycle, driven by her husband, police said.
  The accident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. when a 76-year-old Camp Point woman driving a Chevrolet SUV ran off the road and crossed into the path of the motorcycle, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The woman was charged with improper lane use, according to reports.
  The Kirchman’s were transported to Blessing Hospital in Quincy where Karin Kirchman was pronounced dead at 10:08 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. Ronald Kirchman remains in serious condition. The driver of the SUV was not seriously injured, police said.
  The accident remains under investigation.
  The second tragedy also occurred Sunday morning when an Evergreen Park man drowned while paddle boarding in a lake in southwestern Michigan, according to reports.
  Vincent Churak, 67, reportedly fell off a paddleboard while on Donnell Lake in Cass County, Mich., at about 10:30 a.m., according to reports.
  Witnesses said Churak appeared to be struggling in the water and called for help. He went under the water by the time people trying to help were able to reach him in the lake, the report added.
  The Cass County Sheriff’s marine division and dive team responded.A dive team eventually found him in the water at 1 p.m., according to reports.
  An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Cass County Undersheriff Richard Behnke said Churak drowned in a section of the lake that is 27-feet deep.
He maintained a house near the lake and was familiar with the water. Family members told authorities that Behnke is a former Naval officer. A life vest later was found on the board, he said.
“Nobody saw exactly how he got off the board,” Behnke said.
Churak’s nephew, Jason Murphy, told WNDU.com that Churak called Donnell Lake his “second home” and members of their group would go off in the water on their own.
“Sometimes he’ll go out on a canoe or on a paddleboard,” Murphy said. “We don’t keep tabs on Vince. He did his own thing and and went under the radar. That’s why no one was worried when he was out for two hours because it was a frequent occurance.
“We’re still waiting to see what happened and if it was a medical condition or what.”