Police say an SUV rear-ended a van that was stalled in the eastbound center lane of the expressway at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday near the First Avenue exit in Forest Park.
The van's driver and a backseat passenger died on impact. They are identified as 30-year-old Evelette Rivera and 29-year-old Krystle Hernandez. The two women were mothers and friends. Hernandez was a mother of four, and Rivera had three children.
Two other women in the van were hurt. One remained in the hospital Monday. The driver of the SUV was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. That driver also was taken into state police custody.
State police said they believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, which shut down the expressway for hours while police investigated.