Wednesday, June 16, 2021
June 16, 2021

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Kevin Clark, ‘School of Rock’ actor and drummer, killed riding bicycle in Chicago


CHICAGO — Kevin Clark, who played drummer Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones in “School of Rock,” died after running a red light and being hit by a car as he crossed a street in the Avondale neighborhood early Wednesday, according to Chicago police and a member of Clark’s band.

About 1:20 a.m., Clark, 32, of the 700 block of West Roscoe Street in Lakeview, was riding east on his bike on Logan Boulevard, approaching the intersection at North Western Avenue, police said. A silver Hyundai Sonata driving south on Western Avenue was coming up on a green light and drove into the intersection, hitting the bicyclist as he ran a red light, a witness and the driver both told responding officers, according to a crash report.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the bicyclist partly under the car, according to the report. The driver, a 20-year-old woman, was issued citations, but police did not specify further.

Clark was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said, and he was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office. The woman driving the car was not injured, police said.

After starring in “School of Rock” with Jack Black, Clark made a career as a drummer, most recently in the band Jess Bess and the Intentions, member Gary Kretchmer said. Clark managed the band, which made its debut performance Saturday at Legendary Wooden Nickel in Highwood, Clark’s hometown.

A music jam session is scheduled Wednesday evening at Teddy O’Brian’s in Highwood from 7 to 10 p.m. to honor Clark, Krechmer said.

Beth Schwaneke, a bartender at Teddy O’Brian’s and Clark’s friend, said his death is “unprocessable.” The Highwood pub hosts a jam session every Wednesday night, and Clark is the one who normally sits behind the drumset, Schwaneke said.

“It’s gonna be a weird night without him here,” Schwaneke said. “We’re going to do our best to commemorate, celebrate and rock on.”

Detectives are investigating the crash, police said.