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Three Teens Dead, Fourth Injured In NW Suburban Crash

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Three people died in a single-car accident in Prospect Heights. (CBS)

Three people died in a single-car accident in Prospect Heights. (CBS)

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Updated 6/18/11 5:29 p.m.

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. (STMW) – Three teens were killed and a fourth was injured when the stolen car they were in slammed into a tree 75 yards from the Prospect Heights police station overnight.

“The car jumped off the curb, struck a tree and split in two,’’ according to Prospect Heights police Cmdr. Eric Lundt. “The car was, for all intents and purposes, disintegrated.’’

The three dead, two females and a male, were between the ages of 14 and 19.

As of Saturday afternoon, the dead have been tentatively identified as teens who live in the “immediate area,” though not from Prospect Heights, Lundt said.

Authorities were still in the process of notifying their next of kin, so Lundt declined to release their names. Autopsies are scheduled for Sunday.

The fourth victim suffered non life-threatening injuries and remained hospitalized Saturday at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

The commander said he did not know how the fourth teen was able to survive such a horrific collision. “God was there’’ for the survivor, he said.

The car involved had been stolen, Lundt said.

The wreck happened in the 100 block of Camp McDonald Road in an residential neighborhood about 75 yards from the Prospect Heights police station, which is not staffed overnight.

“It was right next door to us,’’ Lundt said.

When calls came in from neighbors in the area, police rushed to the scene and found a gruesome sight.

A young woman driving the car had been decapitated and the three others were ejected from the 2002 Honda Accord, the commander said.

The three were dead on the scene, according to a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

About 7 or 8 a.m. the man who owns the car “woke up” and called police to say his car had been stolen from Mount Prospect, according to Lundt.

Police do not know who stole the car, and no one has been arrested for the theft.

Investigators have also determined the car was traveling at a high speed when the young woman driving it lost control, the commander said.

The car was initially on Elmhurst Road and turned onto eastbound Camp McDonald when it crashed for an unknown reason. Lundt said police were canvassing the area to find anyone who may have heard or seen the crash.

It was not known if they were wearing seatbelts or just how fast the car was traveling on the 35-mph-speed-limit roadway, which was dry and not under construction at the time. It was not raining.

The commander said it was not known where the teens were going or what their relationship was, besides being acquaintances. Lundt said Prospect Heights police has never had any contact with the four teens.

Toxicology tests will be performed at the medical examiner’s office and should determine if drugs or alcohol were involved.

The wreck is being investigated by the Mount Prospect Accident Reconstruction unit and Prospect Heights police.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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