HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (WLS) --An elderly man was killed in a crash on westbound I-90 just east of Barrington Road near northwest suburban Hoffman Estates early Thursday.
Illinois State Police said a 2005 gold Chevy van slammed into a tow truck in a construction zone on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway just before 1 a.m. Thursday. The van was left mangled and the tow truck, from Esco's Towing, appeared to have spun around. ISP said the tow truck had been helping a disabled vehicle that was not involved in the crash.
James A Perfors, 78, of Elgin, was driving the van and was killed in the crash. The 43-year-old man behind the wheel of the tow truck suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Investigators shut down westbound I-90 near the crash site for about five hours to clear the scene and determine the cause. All lanes reopened around 6 a.m.
The crash occurred during National Work Zone Awareness Week in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Transportation has been appealing to drivers all week about passing safely through these zones. IDOT kicked off that campaign to signal the start of construction season.
"It's an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of driving in work zones. That's dangerous for both the driver and the worker. The theme this year is 'Don't be that Driver.' The rules are simple: see orange, slow down, save lives," said Gianna Urgo, IDOT spokesperson.
Just before 1 a.m., Javier Soto had pulled his flatbed tow truck to the right side of the road and flipped on his strobe lights for safety.
"He put the passengers inside the truck and then he prepared his truck for loading the vehicle," said Nelson Escobbar, owner, Esco's Towing.
Escobar said Soto didn't see the van coming and that the van never slowed down.
The 12,000 lbs. tow truck pinned Soto against a barricade, crushing his collarbone.
"He is just shocked because of the death," Escobar said.
Shards from the van's shattered windshield are still piled up on the flatbed. Police say Perfors died instantly; his van was crushed.
Crews weren't working at the time, but construction on that stretch of I-90 has the road narrowed, and there was no shoulder to pull the tow truck onto.
This accident makes the sixth death on illinois tollways this year.