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Local News

Will County authorities investigating four unrelated deaths over weekend

JOLIET – Authorities are investigating four separate deaths this weekend – one that appears to be the result of a homicide police are calling an “isolated incident.”

A 55-year-old man was slain in Romeoville, while three other deaths appear to be accidents, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.

Richard Pollack, 55, of Romeoville, was pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m. Sunday at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital and “appears to be the victim of a homicide,” a deputy coroner reported. Romeoville police are investigating Pollack’s death.

At about 2 a.m. Sunday, Romeoville police reported to a call of a large fight in progress on the 400 block of Tallman Avenue.

“Several of the participants were armed with baseball bats,” Chief Mark Turvey said.

Officers arrived to find Pollack seriously injured. He was transported to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m.

Two male suspects were located in the area and taken into custody, Turvey said. They had not been formally charged as of 5:30 p.m.

Turvey said the reason the fight began was still being investigated Sunday evening.

A news release from the department states police “want[ed] to reassure the public that there is no public safety risk due to this incident. The case is an isolated incident.”

Three other deaths that occurred over the weekend also are being investigated by local authorities.

Vaidas Varpucanskis, 42, of Mokena, died Saturday morning while riding his bicycle on the Hickory Creek Junction Bike Trail in Frankfort Township.

Lt. Tracy Chapman said witnesses told Will County Forest Preserve Police shortly before 10:55 a.m. Varpucanskis was riding between the junction and Brightway Court when he passed a jogger.

“He announced he was coming on the left but another bike was oncoming,” Chapman said. “The bikes did not make contact with each other but [Varpucanskis] lost control trying to avoid it and hit his head.”

Passers-by called 911 and performed CPR before Varpucanskis was taken to Silver Cross Hospital, Chapman said. Varpucanskis was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m.

Kevin Hrncir, 45, of Plainfield, died following a single-vehicle motorcycle crash at Caton Ridge and South Ridge roads in Joliet.

Police Cmdr. Al Roechner said about 8 a.m. Saturday, Hrncir was taking his 2014 Harley Davidson for an oil change when the bike struck the raised center median and landed in the southbound lane. Hrncir was not wearing a helmet, Roechner said.

Hrncir died at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center at 7:27 p.m. Saturday, according to the coroner’s office.

Thomas Knepper, 68, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was struck by a car as he was cutting grass Sunday in Manhattan Township, the coroner’s office reported.

Knepper was on a lawnmower in the 23000 block of Route 52 when he was struck by a southbound vehicle that left the road, according to the coroner’s office. Knepper was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:25 p.m.

Illinois State Police are investigating the crash.

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