UPDATED 03/25/11 10:54 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A woman was critically injured Friday morning in a crash that brought the morning rush to a halt on the Kennedy Expressway.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the outbound Kennedy was running smoothly again. But during the morning rush, travel times in both directions on the expressway were well in excess of an hour, and CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl said at the Kennedy-Edens junction at Montrose Avenue, traffic wasn’t moving at all.
About 4:30 a.m., a blue car and a sport-utility vehicle collided in a high-speed crash on the outbound Kennedy Expressway in the S-curve between Kimball Avenue and Addison Street. A third vehicle may also have been involved.
The injured woman was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition, according to Fire Media Affairs spokesman Joe Roccasalva. Two other people refused medical attention at the scene, according to Roccasalva.
Illinois State Police said later Friday morning that two sergeants were at the hospital with the woman.
The blue car she was driving was completely destroyed.
After the crash, brake lights and bumper-to-bumper traffic were visible, as a state police crash reconstruction team investigated at the scene.
All lanes but the far right lane of the outbound Kennedy were closed after the crash. Authorities also decided to open the express lanes to outbound traffic, thus causing severe backups for inbound commuters.
Carmen Alvarado was one of the many commuters stuck on the Kennedy.
“It is scary to see the choppers insistent, staying in the area and flying around, so you know that something real bad happened,” Alvarado said.
Many drivers decided trying to wait in the traffic jam wasn’t worth it.
“I got off. I couldn’t take it. I got out of there,” a man said.
Sheila Feinhandler also got off the expressway, thinking it was quicker to go local. It didn’t work out so well.
“I made the silly mistake of doing what everyone else was doing – hopped on Elston instead of just continuing on north.”
“It’s been really hectic in traffic,” another woman said.
All the lanes were back open by just before 8 a.m. Authorities say they are looking into whether alcohol or drugs had anything to do with the crash.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.