MARENGO – A popular Zion Lutheran School teacher and coach from Marengo and a Genoa man were identified as the two drivers killed in a Marengo-area crash Thursday, the coroner's office said Friday.
Marengo police and fire officials were called to Route 176 and Millstream Road about 3:10 p.m. for the multi-vehicle and semitrailer crash, Marengo Fire Protection District Lt. Noel Gaines said. The driver of the semi was uninjured, Gaines said.
Katie L. Kloess, 29, of Marengo, was traveling on Route 176 when her vehicle was struck. She was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. Thursday. Kloess died from blunt force trauma to the head, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said.
Also killed in the crash was Matthew J. Lange, 35, of Genoa. He was driving southbound on Millstream Road and onto Route 176 and was pronounced dead on the scene about 3:40 p.m. Thursday. An autopsy revealed he died from blunt force injuries to the head, spine and abdomen, coroner's officials said.
Kloess was a seventh-grade teacher at Zion Lutheran School who taught sixth- through eighth-grade Language Arts/English. She coached varsity girls volleyball, varsity boys volleyball and varsity girls basketball, was an assistant track coach and was a co-leader for a high school youth group, according to the school's website.
Kloess was traveling to coach her seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball team in Crystal Lake when she was killed, according to the school's website.
She attended Concordia University Chicago and received her bachelor's degree in elementary education – history and middle school, and a master's degree in human services – exercise science. She was also a member of the Lutheran Education Association.
Kloess wrote on her teacher web page that her favorite thing about teaching was getting to work with students and their families.
"I enjoy watching students grow through activities both in and out of school. It's a blessing to be able to share Jesus and see Him through my students every day," she wrote on the website.
School and all school activities were canceled Friday except the Preschool Polar Express, according to an announcement on the school's website. The school was open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for students to speak with teachers and counselors.
"We are all deeply saddened by this horrible tragedy and pray for Katie's students and her family," the message read.
The roads were closed for about six hours for police investigation. The crash remains under investigation by the coroner's office and the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Accident Investigation Unit.