CHICAGO (CBS) — Three members of a family of five from Arlington Heights and a 21-year-old man from Des Plaines were killed Thursday night in a fiery high-speed crash.
Around 9 p.m., a Mercedes Benz was traveling at a very high rate of speed on Northwest Highway in Des Plaines, when it crashed head-on into a Chevy Impala that was attempting to turn into a parking lot near Mount Prospect Road.
Police said the driver of the Mercedes, 21-year-old Piotr Rog, of Des Plaines, was going an estimated 100 mph in a 35 mph zone. Witnesses reported hearing a boom that was so loud, they thought a train had derailed.
The Impala was forced back into the eastbound lane, and was struck by a Toyota Highlander. One of the vehicles caught fire after the crash.
The Impala was left a nearly-unrecognizable mangle of twisted metal.
“This is the worst I’ve seen in 40 years. I can’t remember the last time I saw a quadruple fatal crash. It’s just horrific, the impact. Cars are safer now than they’ve ever been – seat belts, air bags – didn’t save anybody,” Des Plaines Police Chief Bill Kushner said.
Three family members in the Impala were taken to hospitals, where they were pronounced dead. Authorities identified them as 20-year-old Kirsten Crawford and her parents, Anita Crawford, 50, and Kevin Crawford, 52, all of Arlington Heights.
Kushner said Kirsten Crawford was supposed to play in an indoor soccer game at the Lattof YMCA at 300 Northwest Hwy. She and her parents were turning into the YMCA parking lot at the time of the crash.
The Crawfords leave behind 15-year-old daughter Hailee and 10-year-old son Christian. Hailee said, for hours after learning about the crash, she refused to believe it was real, but now she realizes she’s suddenly without her parents and older sister.
“They were three amazing people who did everything to take care of me and my brother and themselves, and I love them a lot,” she said.
According to the Chicago Fire Junior Gold Soccer Club, Kevin Crawford was a founder of the group.
Rog also died at a hospital. According to court records, Rog was ticketed for speeding six times since 2001. A passenger in the Mercedes was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, and was in critical condition Friday morning.
Two people who were in the Toyota suffered minor injuries, and were treated at the scene.
Police said it was too early to know if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash, but sources said a beer can was found in Rog’s vehicle, but it was unclear how recently it had been opened.