Driver Believed To Be Traveling Over 100 MPH Kills Four In Des Plaines Crash

Angelica N. Sumter

Four people are confirmed dead following a horrific car crash in Des Plaines, Illinois, after the driver – who had a long history of traffic violations – may have been traveling more than 100 mph in a 40 mph zone, the Chicago Tribune reports.

At around 8:55 p.m. on Thursday, February 16, a 21-year-old man, Piotr Rog, was traveling at high speed, heading west in the 100 block of East Northwest Highway when he suddenly slammed into a Chevrolet Impala, driven by 52-year-old Kevin Crawford.

His wife, Anita, and 20-year-old daughter, Kirsten, were passengers in the vehicle.

It was reported that Crawford was making a turn “into the Lattof YMCA parking lot from the eastbound lanes of Northwest Highway” when the crash occurred. The impact caused the Impala to slam into another vehicle – a Toyota Highlander – that was traveling east.

A witness, Marian Petruta, — who is a journalist at the Oregon-based Romanian Times and the Chicago Romanian American News – stated that he saw the Mercedes moments before the fatal crash, speeding past him.

Petruta said he blew the horn in a bid to get the driver to slow down, but it was to no avail as he “heard the crash and explosion of the impact as a ball of fire briefly illuminated the darkness in his rearview mirror” moments later.

“I thought he hit a pole or something because there was no car in front of him to hit. It was one of those surreal moments where you see it coming.”

When Petruta reportedly turned his vehicle around and reached the crash scene, he was stunned.

“I was pretty sure that people were dead because the way the car looked – it was so damaged.”

Cindy Gice lives near the area where the crash occurred, and the sound prompted her to come out of her home to see what the commotion was.

“First we heard the explosion, and it was very loud. It sounded almost like a truck hit a building or something. It was significant. It didn’t sound like two cars collided.”

When emergency medical services arrived at the Des Plaines crash scene, the police chief, William Kushner, stated that the Crawford family’s vehicle was extremely damaged to the point where “it looked like a ball of aluminum foil.”

It was alleged that the car’s transmission was discovered 50-feet from the crash site.

Police officials shut down Northwest Highway between Mount Prospect Road and State Street for eight hours while an investigation ensued.

“I can tell you, I was out at the crash scene from 9:15 p.m. to 2 a.m., and I could not find the front tire of their car,” said Kushne. “There were no skid marks on the road, and you don’t get that kind of damage unless (Rog) was driving at least double the posted 40 mph speed (limit), or more than 80 mph.”

The Crawford family and the driver of the Mercedes died in the Des Plaines crash, while a passenger in Rog’s vehicle was transported to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, and is listed in critical condition.

Passengers in the third vehicle were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

During a news conference on Friday, Kushner stated that the crash was “the worst accident he has seen in 40 years.”

He went on to say that he “can’t remember the last time I saw a quadruple fatal crash. It’s just horrific, the impact. Cars are safer now than they’ve ever been – seat belts, air bags – and it didn’t save anybody.”

Investigators say although there was no indication of drugs or alcohol use before the Des Plaines crash took place, they won’t know for sure until they receive the results of a toxicology report, which will not be available for another six weeks.

[Featured Image By WPVI-TV/AP Images]