Deadly Dan Ryan crash may be homicide

February 26, 2008 8:33:55 PM PST
A deadly crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway during rush hour may not have been an accident. State police say it could be a homicide. Sources say the man who was killed was trying to stop a thief who stole his minivan.

Police were questioning a suspect Tuesday night.

It all started at a gas station on the South Side. It ended with the deadly crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 89th Street.

One state trooper told ABC7 Tuesday night this was like a scene right out of a movie: a man watches as his minivan is stolen. He jumps on top of it and wouldn't let go. The suspect, police sources say, then drove on to the expressway, trying to shake the man, and he slams into a wall, crushing him.

The deadly ride started at the Mobil gas station at 95th and State just before 6 p.m. A man was filling up his 2001 Dodge Caravan, the keys still in the ignition, when the suspect jumped in and took off. The victim, police said Tuesday, jumped on the roof of the minivan and wouldn't let go. Trying to shake him off, the suspect drove on the Dan Ryan. Somehow the victim managed to climb over to the passenger side, holding on to the roof luggage rack and now standing on the running boards, the minivan speeding down the expressway. Near 89th Street, on the inbound Dan Ryan, witnesses tell police the suspect appeared to purposely slammed into a retaining wall, crushing and killing the victim.

Patrick Wiggins is a recruiter with the U.S. Army. He was driving on the Dan Ryan and was a witness to it all.

"I saw him right on the roof. He moved to the side and he was trying to open the door. When he tried to open the door, that is when the driver of the vehicle slammed into the wall. And he crushed him in between the car and the wall. After that, he flipped in the air a couple of times and came down," said Specialist Patrick Wiggins, U.S. Army.

The suspect tried to flee on foot but Chicago Police, who happened to be nearby, managed to catch him. Now, state troopers are reviewing surveillance video from police cameras near 95th and State, hoping they caught part of the incident on camera.

Meanwhile, police are questioning the suspect at Area 1 headquarters. They say he is being uncooperative. They are running fingerprints trying to determine his identity. So far, police sources say, it seems the suspect does have a criminal record, including burglary.

Police said Tuesday the suspect likely will be charged with homicide. As for the victim, the medical examiner identifies him as 26-year-old Eric Holmes. Sources tell ABC7 the victim is from South Holland. He was not the owner of the van. His mother owned the vehicle.