CHICAGO (CBS) — Three men were killed early Friday in a head-on crash, after a driver started going in the wrong direction on the Reagan Memorial Tollway in west suburban Warrenville.
Illinois State Police said the driver of a 2012 Toyota Camry was heading east in the westbound lanes of Interstate 88 around 1 a.m., and collided head-on into a 2007 Chrysler 300.
The driver of the Toyota and the two people in the Chrysler were killed in the crash. Police have identified the driver of the Toyota as 30-year-old Domenic Andreoni, of Elgin. The driver of the Chrysler was identified as 32-year-old Ali Erahaima, of Aurora, and the passenger was identified as 40-year-old Shiva Inampudi, of Naperville.
Officials believe all three men were buckled in and that airbags properly deployed.
Police said the deadly crash was the apparent result of an earlier traffic mishap by Andreoni. A witness told police the Toyota was heading west on I-88 when, for some unknown reason, the car struck the left barrier wall and spun around.
“The witness states that it looked like, in the rear-view mirror, that he corrected himself but headed back the wrong way, going eastbound in the westbound lanes, and then made contact with the second vehicle head-on,” Illinois State Police Sgt. Steve Dunlop said.
All westbound lanes of Interstate 88 were shut down at Naperville Road after the crash, while investigators reconstructed the crash. The lanes did not reopen until about 6:15 a.m.
Erhaima’s family was too distraught to talk. He left behind two young children and a wife. He had come to America 10 years ago, after fleeing Iraq, where he was tortured and shot, according to his family. He was working as a driver for a rides-haring service when he lost his life.
Inampudi, his passenger, was an IT worker returning home from a trip to Silicon Valley.
“I don’t know, I can’t believe it. I’m still trying to digest,” said his brother, Mahi Inampudi. “Very pleasing personality, always smiling, neighbors love him, great dad, great husband, great brother.”
Police have not conclusively determined if alcohol was a factor in the crash, but said so far there have been no indications any type of intoxicant played a role in the collision.