2 dead in head-on crash in Lawndale

April 30, 2011 4:32:56 PM PDT
Two are dead and nine others are injured after an SUV collided head-on with a car on Chicago's West Side early Saturday.

The accident happened about 3 a.m. in the 1300-block of South Kostner Avenue, which is in the Lawndale neighborhood. Initially, authorities said three people died in the crash, but later revised that number to two.

While relatives of those who died in Saturday morning's crash refused to comment, a growing number of grief-stricken people gathered at the site of the accident.

"We just came running down and instantly we saw the baby right here on the ground. We're just like, 'Oh my god,'" said witness and Lawndale neighborhood resident Shante Robinson. "There were people in the car crying, trying to get out."

It was a chaotic scene as paramedics and firefighters attended to the victims. The emergency brought ambulance after ambulance to the site of the two-car wreck.

Shaunquita Smith and Marquita Riddle say they know at least one of the crash victims who died.

"We don't know exactly where they were coming from or what happened. I was awakened early this morning," Riddle said.

Investigators say the crash happened when a 2003 Mazda SUV, with at least 10 people inside, traveled north on Kostner and for some reason swerved across the center line into oncoming traffic hitting a 1995 Ford Probe. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, the impact caused the SUV to flip over, killing a 19-year-old man and a woman in her 40s.

Several people were thrown from the vehicle because they were not wearing seatbelts. The survivors were taken to area hospitals in serious to critical condition, including three passengers who were transported to Mt. Sinai.

"I'm trying to deal with it, but it's going to be hard to let my friend go," said one of the victim's friends Maurisha Smith.

The driver of the Ford probe, who was the only occupant of that car, was not taken to the hospital.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, no charges or citations have been issued. The Chicago Police Department's major accident investigation unit is investigating.