NORTH UTICA, Ill. (WAND) - The family of three men who died in an explosion near Starved Rock State Park is retaining a law firm to represent them and potentially take legal action.
The people killed in the May 6 explosion were 39-year-old Inmer Rivera Tejada, 36-year-old Rafael Rivera Tejada and 26-year-old Guillermo Rivera Tejada. Their family has retained Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. to investigate what occurred near the park.
According to The Associated Press, LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch had reported the men were fishing in the river before the blast. On the evening of the blast, a "black powder substance" was ignited in a hole. Ploch said no device was involved in the explosion, but noted black powder can be used for making fireworks.
The coroner's theory was the men either lit the powder for entertainment or, in the more likely scenario, were attempting to light a fire and cook food they found nearby.
“Our firm is thoroughly investigating this incident to determine exactly what happened and how these three young men tragically lost their lives in Utica last week. At this time, there is no reason to believe the three men had anything whatsoever to do with the handling of, or knowingly using explosive devices. But we do know demolition was actively occurring in the area as part of bridge work. We will be hiring some of the best experts in the country to assist us in our investigation and hopefully bring peace of mind to Inmer, Rafael and Guillermo’s family,” Plaintiff’s Attorney Tara R. Devine said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rivera Tejada family as they process this immense loss. We ask that the public please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time. Our firm will issue a statement and further information when it is appropriate.”
A press release said the family's legal representation also includes Patrick A. Salvi, founder and managing equity partner of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, and attorney Jaclyn J. Wilcox.
Contact the law firm at (847)249-1227 if you have any information or witnessed something you believe could be connected to the explosion.