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Stanley Ksiazek Identifed As Driver in Fatal Wrong-Way Crash on Rand Rd Near Thomas St

Tue March 11 2014 6:45 am
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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.

A Palatine man apparently caused a five-vehicle crash and lost his life when the red Colorado pickup truck he was driving was in the wrong lanes of Rand Road was involved in a major crash — west of Thomas Street in Arlington Heights Monday afternoon. Stanley Ksiazek, age 51, was pronounced dead at 1:08 p.m. at Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, less than an hour after he was involved in a crashed that flipped his westbound small pickup truck 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. One was a small Volkswagen that was hit so hard the engine was ripped out of the engine compartment, and settled about 30 feet away. Ksiazek was extricated from the overturned pickup truck first by Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedics, who transported him to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. The driver of the Volkswagen was trapped in his vehicle, 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. He was listed in critical condition at Condell. 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 the 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 the street.

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 by 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. Those crashes have not been confirmed, yet.

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 had firefighter license plates, but police have not released information about whether Ksiazek owned the truck or not, or whether he was a firefighter.

Many parents were concerned whether any high school students were injured. John Hersey High School is less than one-half mile from the crash site. No students from Hersey High School were injured.

At least two crashes occurred after the fatal crash on this first day that
air temperature was well above freezing. A minor crash was reported between Hersey High School and the Target store. Another crash occurred near Rand Road and Arlington Heights Road about 1:45 p.m. A car hit a very tall light pole on Arlington Heights Road, just south of Rand Road. No word on any injuries. Much of the westbound traffic of Rand Road was detoured to westbound Thomas Street and northbound Arlington Heights, causing a lot of congested on those major thoroughfares.

While police were investigating the fatal crash on Rand Road near Thomas Street, an apparently unrelated crash with a light pole occurred about 1:45 p.m. on Arlington Heights Road near Rand Road.

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