Chicago Traffic: Fatal Eisenhower Expressway crash blamed on reckless driving

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A deadly crash on the Eisenhower Expressway Wednesday morning is being blamed on reckless driving.

Illinois State Police said at about 2:10 a.m., at least three cars and a semi crashed on the inbound lanes of I-290 near Damen Avenue.

Police said a 32-year-old Chicago man was killed in the crash. Two other people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

A witness told police that a "reckless driver" was spotted speeding on the Eisenhower prior to the crash.

The inbound lanes of the expressway were closed at Western Avenue as police investigated the crash before reopening at around 8:30 a.m.

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It was no surprise to city driver Lance Taylor, who said that since the pandemic, he's watched expressways turn into speedways.

"It's very dangerous on the expressway," Taylor said. "I travel with my kids a lot in the car and I always try to get into the right lane. Once you get to the lane close to the wall, you don't know what's going to happen. People cutting in and cutting out."

According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, so far this year, there have been 646 fatalities from crashes, up 10% over the same period in 2020, when there were 587 fatalities from crashes.

"We definitely see a trend," said Illinois State Police Trooper Edgar Valdez. "As we start going back to normal and more people get on the highway, we could see these numbers increase."

So far this year, ISP said they've given over 4,300 speeding citations. That's a 11% increase from the same period last year

Troopers are also writing up more DUI citations. To date, there have been 564 DUI citations written. That's up 6% over 2020's numbers for the same time, but a decrease from 2019.

A lot of motorists don't know what to do next. They say with kids heading back and the world opening up even more, they aren't sure they are going to continue to take the expressways at all, opting for Lake Shore Drive or city streets.

And while other drivers would to see more deterrents like cameras, Taylor doesn't expect much to change for the better.

"It's going to be crazy on the expressway, so you all watch out!" he said. "It's going to be crazy."
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