UPDATED 02/03/12 10:56 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Two people were left in critical condition early Friday when a wrong-way driver smashed into a car on the ramp from the Stevenson Expressway to Lake Shore Drive.
Illinois State Police say a suspected drunken driver was going the wrong way in a Jeep sport-utility vehicle headed for the central city in the outbound lanes around 3 a.m. Friday.
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The earliest reports of the wrong-way driver were as far west as Kedzie Avenue, Illinois State Police Trooper Ivan Bukaczyk told the Sun-Times Media Wire.
“I did not speak to anybody who said that there was a near miss. They did say that he was traveling at a high rate of speed, and that everybody that he came upon – it was such a quick incident with them that he had passed them at such a high rate of speed,” said State Police Master Sgt. Jeanette Beck.
The driver sped about 6 miles before crashing head-on into another vehicle on the ramp from southbound Lake Shore Drive to the outbound Stevenson.
“It seems to me that there’s certain areas sometimes when they tend to get on the wrong way, where the ramps are confusing,” Beck said.
The two drivers were taken from the scene to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, the Fire Department told the Sun-Times Media Wire. Their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
The driver, Rakesh J. Baker, 23, is charged with drunken driving. He was also ticketed for driving the wrong way, not having insurance, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
Baker was released on bond after his arrest, police said.