Speed, alcohol factor in teen's crash

May 15, 2008 3:35:20 PM PDT
The teen's car hit a fence and the victim was impaled on a pole.

The driver, 18-year-old Christopher Wibel from Matteson, is a senior at Lincoln Way East High School. Two female students from the same school were also in the car. Witnesses say all three teens had open alcohol with them.

Looking at the wrecked Pontiac Firebird, witnesses found it hard to believe anyone could have survived the accident. Around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, the car swerved off the road and hit a chain-link fence. Wibel was behind the wheel.

A pole from the fence went through the driver's side window and impaled the teenager through his abdomen.

"I tried keeping him awake, kept on talking to him. I put the car in neutral. I turned the car off for him. I just kept on talking to him," said witness Michael Rasmason who was first on the scene.

Frankfort firefighters extricated Wibel from the car and rushed him to nearby St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields in critical condition. Two teenaged girls - ages 16 and 17 - were also in the car. Both were able to walk away from the crash, but the girls were cited for underage drinking.

"It looked terrible. It was awful. I didn't think that the kid was going to live," said Theresa Nugent, a neighborhood resident.

The car crashed into Nugent's fence. According to Nugent and other neighbors, the stretch of road in the Franklin Square neighborhood is treacherous and many accidents have happened there over the years.

"There are just a lot of kids and cars and driving fast, and not paying attention and not caring about the speed limit, not caring about other pedestrians and just driving nuts. Like you said, there's no stop signs here," said Nugent.

"Just a couple of years ago, on the corner there, a motorcycle did the same thing. They go by too fast. It is too much with the drinking and everything else with the kids," said Pat Zednick.

Wibel is expected to survive. The Will County Sherrif's Department is handling the investigation. A spokesman says the driver was given a blood alcohol test but results won't be available for at least 10 days. Wibel may face charges after he's released from the hospital.


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