New details are emerging in a fiery crash that left two people dead and at least 16 others injured, seven of whom are children.
According to Chicago police, the crash occurred in the 8700 block of South Cottage Grove at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday.
A Dodge Charger, which had been reported stolen earlier in the day in suburban Markham, was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes at a high rate of speed when it reached the street’s intersection with 87th Street.
The Charger collided with seven different vehicles within the intersection before coming to rest on a nearby corner, where it burst into flames.
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Police say that the two occupants of the vehicle were both pronounced dead at the scene.
In all, 16 other individuals, seven children and nine adults, were taken to area hospitals. No immediate update was given on their condition.
The Chicago Police Department’s Major Accidents Unit is investigating the crash, and Cottage Grove and 87th Street both remain closed.
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It is unclear at this time how fast the Charger was driving, or whether it was involved in a drag race at the time of the collision. Pod cameras did capture part of the crash at the intersection, but the scene is still being reconstructed by investigators.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot conferred with police at the scene and delivered remarks at a press conference following the crash, calling on area residents to slow down and to avoid dangerous actions behind the wheel.
“This is something we can control: take your foot off the gas,” she said. “This is something we’re going to have to address on a citywide basis, and in the meantime, if people don’t have respect for themselves or others…we’re going to have more tragedies.”
Lightfoot says the scene of the crash made her “heart sick,” and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown urged residents to slow down and to use caution while driving, especially around the holidays.
“Speed kills, and it did tonight,” he said.