Police said a Chevy, driven by a woman, traveling southbound on Lake Shore Drive crossed the median into the northbound lanes and struck three other vehicles just before 6 p.m.
The woman was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Seven other people were injured and taken to area hospital, police said.
Video taken of the aftermath showed the frantic effort by bystanders to help a trapped victim out of a car. Barely recognizable cars were surrounded by pieces of debris scattered along the northbound lanes.
"People come through here and they don't, they don't. They underestimate how fast they're going. They don't think it's going to matter," said Lindsey Ross, resident.
Police said they believe speed, while the driver attempted to change lanes, was a factor in the crash. An investigation by the Major Accidents Unit is ongoing.
Both sides of Lake Shore Drive were shut down between West Foster Avenue and West Montrose Avenue for hours after the crash. Southbound lanes re-opened shortly before 9:15 p.m. Northbound lanes re-opened early Tuesday morning.