Winnetka, News

Winnetka man dies after helping children in Lake Michigan

A Winnetka man died on Tuesday afternoon after reportedly trying to help children in the water off Elder Park Beach.

Winnetka emergency units responded to the scene at 1:23 p.m. on the Fourth of July and transported him to Evanston Hospital, where the man — identified as Luke Laidley, 43, by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office — was later pronounced dead.

According to Winnetka Fire Chief John Ripka, Laidley was part of a group on a boat that was pulling children on an innertube. Multiple children were in the water when Laidley jumped off the boat to help them, Ripka said.

“(Laidley) struggled to swim and drowned,” Ripka wrote in an email.

No other injuries were reported.

Laidley was pulled back onto the boat, where CPR “was started immediately” by other adults on board as the boat returned to shore where Winnetka firemedics took over care, Ripka said.

Laidley reportedly was in serious condition when he was brought to the hospital.

The medical examiner had not identified Laidley’s cause of death by press time.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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