Witness interview with Rachel Monat after she swerved to avoid a wrong way driver, that proceeded to crash head-on in vehicles behind her on Rand Road just west of Thomas Street, Arlington Heights.
Anatoliy Elkind, 48, of Vernon Hills died at 5:07 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at Level I Trauma Center Condell Medical Center after the Volkswagen Golf he was driving was hit head-on by a wrong way driver on Rand Road, just west of Thomas Street. He was the second victim to die in a crash that occurred during the lunch hour on Monday, March 10, 2014.
The wrong way driver — a man from Palatine — apparently caused the five-vehicle crash and lost his own life on Monday less than an hour after the crash when the red Colorado pickup truck he was driving was in the wrong lanes of Rand Road. Stanley Ksiazek, age 51, was pronounced dead at 1:08 p.m. at Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. The pickup truck Ksiazek was driving westbound flipped upside down on the parkway of the oncoming lanes (eastbound lanes) of Rand Road.
Police have yet to release the results of their investigation, but apparently about 12:15 p.m. Stanley Ksiazek, age 51, headed westbound on the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed in the red pickup truck and hit at least two cars head-on. The first collision, and with greatest force, was apparently with Elkind’s small Volkswagen, which was hit so hard the engine was ripped out of the engine compartment, and tossed about 30 feet away. Ksiazek was extricated from the overturned pickup truck first by Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedics, who transported him to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Elkind was also trapped in his vehicle — the Volkswagen Golf — but appeared conscious and alert from a bystander’s observation. Prospect Heights firefighter/paramedics extricated him, and rushed him to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Condell Medical Center. Elkind was listed in critical condition at Condell Monday afternoon. A third vehicle that was severely damaged was a Toyota Sienna, which appeared to have been impacted from above by one of the other vehicles in the crash. Witnesses said that a man was able to stand and walk around after his van was hit.
The red pickup truck most likely hit Elkind’s Volkswagen head-on and went airborne, and perhaps cartwheeled or rolled over while hitting the roof and windshield of the Sienna. Two other vehicles were also badly damaged, but not as severely as the other three. Debris covered Rand Road, across all lanes.
Motorist Rachel Monat applied some skillful driving to avoid the crash. She saw the pickup truck coming right at her, and turned her steering wheel hard to the left and ended up driving eastbound in the westbound lanes to avoid the pickup truck that was violating the eastbound lanes while heading west. Monat saw the crash happen in her rearview mirror as she approached Thomas Street and returned to the proper eastbound lanes. She pulled into Nikkos at Rand Road and Thomas Street, and called 9-1-1. She then hurried back to the crash, where she found people injured and crying.
VIDEO: Multiple injury, multiple vehicle crash with one fatality on Rand Road west of Thomas Street Monday afternoon [WARNING: Video shows a chaotic scene with the intent to show the skills of firefighter/paramedics as they are safely working two extrication operations simultaneously].
Many bystanders at the crash scene claimed they have seen their share of wrong way drivers on Rand Road, especially near Camp McDonald Road. There was a lot of speculation on why the pickup driver was driving so fast, and why he was on the wrong side of the road. Somebody said he was chasing someone. Another person said he was fleeing a crime scene before he crashed. Someone else said they heard he caused a few crashes along his route before the crash occurred. Police have since said that he was not involved in any additional crashes. Coincidentally, there were other crashes in the area that occurred about the same time frame.
Arlington Heights police are investigating the crash. Police were on the scene until at least 4:00 p.m. Monday. Police took aerial photographs from the basket of Arlington Heights Fire Department Tower Ladder 1. Rand Road was open by the evening rush hour, after being closed in both direction since 12:15 p.m.
The pickup truck, driven by Ksiazek, had firefighter license plates, but police have not released information about whether Ksiazek owned the truck or not, or whether he was a firefighter.
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