2 dead, 6 injured in Far South Side crash involving officers, house

Saturday, July 2, 2016
Two dead, six injured in Far South Side crash
Two people are dead and six people were injured, including four officers, after a crash that involved multiple vehicles and a house.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two people are dead and six people were injured, including four officers, after a crash that involved multiple vehicles and a house.

The crash took place before 11:30 a.m. at 124th and South Union in the West Pullman neighborhood.

"I was drinking coffee and I heard the boom. I ran out. And you can see that it was a bad accident," said neighbor Clarence Grant.

Police say the chase started in Tinley Park after a strong arm robbery around 11 a.m. and was continued north on the Dan Ryan by Illinois State Police. Chicago police officers from the 5th District were trying to intercept the chase when the crash occurred, slamming into a house belonging to Michael Wells.

"I heard a big banging sound like a... I thought we were being attacked. I didn't realize it was a car," Wells said. "The police were hollering, 'Come out! Come out! Come out!' They were screaming."

Wells, a 69-year-old Army veteran, was sitting in his front room when the gold Pontiac careened into the house and destroyed a wheel chair ramp after a collision with an unmarked police squad car.

Four suspects - one woman and three men - were riding in the Pontiac. Two were critically injured and taken to Northwestern Memorial, police said. Both have since died. The other two suspects are expected to be OK.

The four officers injured were in stable condition at Christ Hospital. The most seriously injured officer suffered a broken leg. Another officer suffered a broken arm.

First responders could be seen giving chest compressions to one injured suspect just after the crash. A man lying nearby in the grass near the crash scene was in handcuffs.

The Chicago police squad car was sent crashing into a house in the collision, then burst into flames. It was towed away Friday night.

A woman says her disabled father was sitting on the porch of the house when the car being chased slammed into an unmarked police SUV, which then careened into a corner home and destroyed a metal wheelchair ramp.

"Big ol' ramp. And if he would have had that little ol' ramp, who's to say what would have happened?" she said.

As the incident remains under investigation, some neighborhood residents are left shaken and questioning whether the police should have continued to chase the alleged robbers.

The initial robbery took place at an Arby's on 191st in Tinley Park, police said. The manager was about to make a bank drop around 10:56 a.m. when she was confronted in the parking lot by robbers. There was a struggle and the robbers got away with an unknown amount of money. The victim suffered minor injuries, but she did not go to the hospital.