Crash Survivor: Driver Screamed, ‘Are You Guys Ready To Die?’

OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — The only survivor of the wrong-way crash early Monday on Interstate 80 says he knows he’s a lucky man – and he says one thing that sticks out in his mind are the words of the car’s driver.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, Eduardo Rodriguez, 31, of Chicago, spoke from from his hospital bed at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

Rodriguez said he and three other men were returning to their homes from an evening they had spent at bars, and the Skybox strip club in Harvey, back to their homes.

Wrong Way Crash

Four people were killed when this car crashed head-on into another vehicle after heading the wrong way down I-80. (Credit: CBS)

The Illinois State Police account of the crash suggested that the driver of the Infiniti sedan, Gustavo Vargas of Berwyn, went the wrong way on I-80 by mistake.

State police said Vargas wanted to turn around and go eastbound on I-80 instead of westbound, after reaching a median cut-through intended for emergency vehicles near Kedzie Avenue. Instead of getting into the eastbound lanes, he made a three-point turn and began heading the wrong way.

But Rodriguez said the driver of the car actually decided to get on I-80 the wrong way.

Rodriguez says Vargas kept saying the same thing.

“He was screaming, ‘Are you guys ready to die?'” Rodriguez said. “That’s what he was saying.”

Why did Vargas say and do such a thing?

“I don’t know,” Rodriguez said. “He was crazy. I don’t know.”

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. Monday, Vargas’ car smashed head-on into a 1999 Ford Escort wagon. The Infiniti burst into flames after the accident, and was rendered a burned out husk.

“The car caught on fire. My clothes burned,” Rodriguez said. “I saw one of my friends. He asked me for help, and I tried to help him, but I couldn’t help him.”

Vargas, 29, was killed in the crash, as were two other passengers – front seat passenger Jorge Pina, 27, of Chicago; and back seat passenger Armando Ruiz, 29, of Berwyn. The driver of the Ford Escort, Jason Wepsiec, 35, of Joliet, was also killed.

Rodriguez says he fortunate as the sole survivor.

“I feel like a lucky man,” he said. “It wasn’t my time, I believe.”

Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, and witnesses also say Vargas was speeding in the Infiniti.

  • Toonces

    31 years old, booze and strip clubs. Maybe something more productive with the rest of your life now?

  • barrister jonathon

    Judgmental much? Who gaf what he does with his time and money if he isn’t hurting anyone?

    • Teacher

      Duh- they killed an innocent victim who WASN’T drinking- what do you mean that they “weren’t hurting anyone.” Who are you kidding? They are losers who killed an innocent man.

      • Arthur Kinney

        they? how many people were driving the car? I mean if they were all teachers I could understand how it would require all four of them to operate the vehicle. One guy made a decision and the rest were victims.

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  • friend

    I know the driver personally. I went to school with him. He was very diseased growing up and wanted to live his life. he used to pull pranks on everyone. However this prank killed innocent people. But he is not a drunk or a murderer. He was a great guy.

    • George


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