Chicago Ridge officer killed in wrong-way crash on I-294

Evelyn Holmes Image
Monday, September 14, 2015
Charges expected in wrong-way crash
Charges may be filed in the wrong-way crash that killed a 27-year-old Chicago Ridge police officer.

OAK BROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- Charges may be filed against a driver involved in a wrong-way crash on the Tri-State Tollway that killed a 27-year-old Chicago Ridge police officer.

Officer Steven Smith's cousin was driving him back to his car in Stone Park after a family wedding early Sunday morning.

Illinois State Police said a Toyota Camry heading south in the northbound lanes of I-294 struck their Dodge Neon head-on near the Cermak Road toll plaza around 3:45 a.m. Sunday. The Toyota spun out of control and struck a Chevrolet pickup truck.

PHOTOS: 1 dead, 3 injured after I-294 wrong-way crash near Oak Brook

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman driving the Camry remains hospitalized, but her injuries are not life-threatening.

Smith's cousin was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Chevy was not hurt.

Smith joined the Marines and served in Afghanistan before coming home to join the Chicago Ridge Police Department five years ago as a part-time officer. He became a full-time officer in February.

"Steve respected his elders. He respected other officers. He respected community. He always wanted to do a good job for us. He did a good job and will be missed," Chicago Ridge Police Chief Robert Pyznarski said.

"He'd give you the shirt of his back. He'd always say hi to me when he walked by. Always explained how his day was going, stuff like that," Joseph Cassidy said.

Officer Smith lived just a couple of blocks from the police department. He is survived by his parents and a brother.

"I have two sons that are policemen. So any time something happens to a policeman, it hurts me," Joan Micetich said.

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