Reporting Nancy Harty
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois State Police said it appears a teenage driver wasn’t paying attention when he pulled in front of a semi-trailer truck on Monday in Kendall County, causing a wreck that killed him and his two teenage passengers.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports the driver, 19-year-old Brian Herrera, and his passengers – 19-year-old Tyler Montgomery and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Alexis Banuelos – were killed when Herrera pulled out from a stop sign on Schlapp Road in unincorporated Kendall County near Oswego, into the path of an eastbound truck on Illinois Route 126.
State Police Trooper Jason Shrake said there doesn’t appear to be anything else involved in the crash between the Ford Escort and the 18-wheeler, including drugs, alcohol, or cell phone use. Nothing appeared to be obstructing Herrera’s view, either.
“It’s a very wide-open area out there, and weather conditions were perfectly fine. I think it was just a case of not paying close enough attention to what you’re doing,” Shrake said. “Just not paying attention. The car just pulled out in front of the 18-wheeler.”
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The truck collided with the car, and then flipped over on its side.
Contrary to what some neighbors said, Shrake said that intersection is not a major problem.
“Every once in a blue moon, we’ll get a fender bender there. Usually not this severe,” he said. “Every once in a blue moon it just, it happens.”
There have been nine accidents at that intersection in the past three years, but no fatal crashes since 2001. A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation said that’s a relatively low number.
The truck driver involved in the crash was not issued any citations, as he had the right of way. He was treated and released from an area hospital after the crash.
While police have not declared an official cause for the crash yet, for the families of the victims – who once attended Plainfield North High School together – the grieving has just begun.
“It’s horrible. No parent ever wants to have their kids go before them,” Montgomery’s father, Mike, told CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot. “It’s still surreal. I know it will sink in.”
He also reflected on his only son, who had dreams of making it big in the music industry.
“Tyler touched everybody’s hearts that he knew,” his said.
He formed the Plainfield band called “Midwest Mathematics.” His father said Tyler was not only passionate about music, but his girlfriend Alexis.
“It was the grace of God they went together,” he said.
Herrera’s family was also mourning.
His younger brother spoke about the plans Brian had made just months before his death.
Christian Herrera said his brother was working two jobs and saving money to go to college in California.
“Actually, this summer he was supposed to go. Then this happened. It’s devastation,” he said.
Christian said Brian was his role model.