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Police: Alcohol A Factor In Christmas Eve Crash That Killed Girl, 8

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Lauren Smith, 8, was killed as a result of a rollover crash. (Family handout)

Lauren Smith, 8, was killed as a result of a rollover crash. (Family handout)

(STMW) – An 8-year-old girl was killed in an alcohol-related crash on Christmas Eve, when the driver of the car she was in rolled over into a tree on the South Side, police said.

Rescue workers found a Chevy Impala on its side against a tree about 11:15 p.m. in the 1000 block of West Garfield Boulevard, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

The roof of the car was crushed below seat level, Langford said.

Crews worked for more than 40 minutes to extricate a 26-year-old man from the vehicle, and it wasn’t until they were inside that they noticed a girl was also pinned into the vehicle, according to police and fire officials.

Lauren Smith, 8, of the 5600 block of South Wolcott Avenue, was taken in extremely critical condition to University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:42 a.m. Wednesday, according to fire officials and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

“Hug your kids, because you’ll never know when you’ll to see them again,” Lauren’s grief-stricken mother, Loressa Hall, tells CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “Let them know that you love them.”

The man driving the car was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, officials said. He was listed in fair condition Wednesday afternoon.

Family members identified the driver as Jeff Smith, Lauren’s father. He had not yet been told about his daughter’s death.

Police said the crash was alcohol-related, and that the man was speeding when he hit the tree. Charges were pending.

Since Saturday afternoon, three children have been killed in car crashes across Chicago.

 (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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