One woman died and seven people were injured in a four-vehicle crash Monday evening on North Lake Shore Drive that sent at least one car flying through the air and closed lanes in both directions for more than three hours, according to authorities and a witness.
A woman was driving a Chevrolet passenger car south on Lake Shore just before 6 p.m. just south of Lawrence when her car crossed the median and hit three vehicles that were heading north, police said in a media notification. The woman was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.
Preliminary information points to speed being a possible factor in the Chevrolet driver crossing the median, according to police.
The Chicago Fire Department called an Emergency Medical Services Plan 1 for the crash about 6:05 p.m., sending at least five ambulances to the scene.
Seven people were injured, with two people in serious-to-critical condition going to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and another person in serious-to-critical condition going to Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Fire Department’s Twitter account. Two children in fair-to-serious condition were taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, and one adult in fair-to-serious condition was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to the Fire Department, correcting earlier information. One person suffered injuries and declined to be taken to a hospital.
Two vehicles suffered significant damage, with debris strewn across the road. One tire ended up about 75 yards north of the main crash scene in the northbound lanes.
Lanes in both directions were closed while fire crews dealt with the injured and police investigated, and were reopened about 9 p.m., officials said. CTA buses also were rerouted in the area until about the same time.
Gabriel Charles Tyler, 26, had just left work and was riding north on Lake Shore Drive with a friend to go to dinner when it appeared a vehicle swerved and clipped another car, resulting in a pile-up involving several cars, about two cars in front of them.
“It was really crazy and horrific. It almost looked as if one of the cars flew,” Tyler said.
“It became a domino effect in all three of the lanes,” he said. “Boom. Boom. Boom. Bam. … It really happened in a blink of an eye.”
In a matter of seconds, people traveling in both directions began to get out of their vehicles to check on those in the mangled vehicles, including a person who appeared to be trapped in a badly damaged silver sedan.
“I heard crying and saw people all running toward the really, really smashed car that one person was trapped inside,” said Tyler, who lives in Hyde Park. “That one got the brunt of the damage. All the people running toward that one, like, ‘Someone needs to help them out.’ It looked like someone got crushed.”
In a video taken by Tyler, a bystander appeared to be performing chest compressions on a person lying in the front seat of a dark-colored sedan with its hood smashed.
At least two children, who were noticeablely rattled by the crash, emerged from a blue SUV with minor damage on its front end as well, Tyler said.
“It looked like their father was holding them to comfort them,” Tyler recalled.
The Chicago Tribune’s Terrence Antonio James contributed.