The coroner said that an off-duty police officer, who was also a military veteran, died after possibly experiencing a medical emergency of some kind, causing him to drown on Petite Lake Friday evening.
An autopsy showed Victor Lopez, 49, of Round Lake Beach, died as a result of drowning, according to Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper.
Cooper told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that it is believed Lopez was experiencing a medical emergency which caused him to drown while he was in the water.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Patrol Deputies along with the Lake Villa Fire Protection District responded around 5:45 p.m. Friday to the 38800 block of North Cedar Crest Drive in unincorporated Lake Villa.
Authorities received a 911 call of an unconscious person, later identified as Lopez, who had gone under the water while swimming near what is known as “The Sandbar” on Petite Lake, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.
Sheriff Marine Unit deputies arrived at the scene first and found Lopez’s friends performing CPR on him.
The Marine Unit deployed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and attempted to shock the man’s heart back to rhythm and render aid until paramedics arrived.
A preliminary investigation shows that Lopez had been at the sandbar for approximately two hours.
“All of a sudden, his friends could not locate the man and they began searching in the area where he was last seen,” Covelli said.
They found the man unconscious under the water near their boat. They immediately removed him from the water, administered CPR and boated him to shore.
Paramedics transported Lopez to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was later pronounced dead.
Sheriff’s deputies found no immediate signs of trauma or foul play, Covelli said. Lopez worked as a police officer for the Palatine Police Department.
“We have been in close contact with Mr. Lopez’s family and our deepest condolences go out to them during this difficult time. This is truly a tragedy,” Cooper said.
Lopez served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army before working as a police officer in Palatine for 21 years.
Lopez spent a brief amount of time working as a police and fire dispatcher at CenCom 9-1-1 in Round Lake Beach in the late 1990s.
“Officer “Vic” Lopez will be truly missed by the members of the Palatine Police Department. A memorial service is currently being planned for Officer Lopez and details are unknown at this time,” the Palatine Police Department said.
The incident remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Coroner’s Office.