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Video Captures Citizens’ Attempts to Rescue Victims of Head-On Crash on Northwest Highway, Des Plaines

Sat February 18 2017 6:52 am
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A video from Chicago Romanian American News reporter Marian Petruta captured the scene immediately after a deadly head-on collision on Northwest Highway, just east of Mount Prospect Road Thursday night February 16, 2017 about 8:58 p.m. The scene shows citizen rescuers attempting to shatter car windows with a baseball bat to ventilate the interior of the cars that were filling with smoke. Laminated car windows are very difficult to shatter.

Below is the full video from Chicago Romanian American News reporter Marian Petruta …


Marian Petruta told the Daily Herald that he witnessed the crash and a small ball of fire erupt from the crash in his rear view mirror, after seeing a reckless driver in a dark Mercedes Benz pass him in oncoming lanes at a high rate of speed. Petruta was eastbound, and then turned around to head westbound to get to the scene of the crash. He captured video of smoke coming from both vehicles with citizen rescuers attempting to help the crash victims.

The Impala was pushed 78 yards in its opposite direction (eastbound-to-westbound) — 78 yards (234 feet) — after it was hit head-on by the Mercedes Benz. Then the Impala, as its post-impact motion was decelerating, crashed at low speed into an eastbound Toyota Highlander. The Mercedes Benz came to rest in a grass parkway on the north side of Northwest Highway near an apartment complex — just a few car-lengths away from the Impala.

One of the citizen rescuers said the car already flamed up once as smoke pushes out of the interior and engine compartments of the cars. Other people are heard saying “the ambulance is on its way” and “9-1-1 is on the line.”

One man apparently rushed out of his apartment in the the freezing weather without his shirt on. After several strikes with a baseball bat, another man can be heard saying, “Girl, are you there?” — possibly referring to a female passenger in the front passenger seat. A girls says, “Can you see her?” Another says, “she needs to breathe” … “we need to get air in there.” A girl says, “There’s a fire under the dashboard now.” A woman says, “Get away, that can explode.” Another said, “There’s gas leaking now.” Another man says, “We need some tools.”

All of the video was captured before police and firefighter/paramedics arrived.

+ + +

Three Arlington Heights family members were killed Thursday night by a 21-year-old driver, who also lost his life, when he drove a Mercedes Benz over 100 mph and crashed into a Chevrolet Impala on Northwest Highway near the west driveway of Lattof YMCA.

A preliminary investigation shows the driver, Piotr Rog, 21, was traveling westbound on Northwest Highway at a high rate of speed about 8:58 p.m. Thursday, February 16, 2017 when the Mercedes Benz he was driving struck an eastbound Chevrolet Impala in a left turn route into the Lattof YMCA parking lot.

The Impala was pushed 78 yards in its opposite direction (eastbound-to-westbound) — about 234 feet — after it was hit head-on by the Mercedes Benz. Then the Impala, as its post-impact motion was decelerating, crashed at low speed into an eastbound Toyota Highlander. The Mercedes Benz came to rest in a grass parkway on the north side of Northwest Highway near an apartment complex — just a few car-lengths away from the Impala.

1 dead at scene in Mercedes Benz sedan
3 from Impala pronounced dead at hospitals
1 from Mercedes listed critical at hospital

Both cars were smoking when firefighters arrived. Firefighters extinguished a fire involving the Mercedes Benz with a hose line from a fire engine (not confirmed). Crews on arrival reported five people were injured with three people entrapped. Des Plaines requested a MABAS EMS Box Alarm for multiple patients injured. Ambulances from Elk Grove Township, Mount Prospect, North Maine, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights were dispatched to the scene.

Four people were transported to two area hospitals (Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Northwest Community Hospital). Piotr Rog was found dead at the scene in his vehicle. Two of three family members from Arlington Heights were extricated from the Chevrolet Impala. The driver was extricated by 9:16 p.m. The front seat passenger was extricated shortly after the driver. Rog’s body was extricated in a triage operation after living patients were extricated.

The three Arlington Heights family members in the Chevrolet Impala were all pronounced dead on arrival at the hospitals — two at Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, and one at Northwest Community Hospital. Kevin Crawford died in an ambulance immediately after he was extricated from the Impala. His daughter Kirsten Crawford died at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital during CT scan. His wife Anita Crawford died at Northwest Community Hospital. The one passenger in the Mercedes Benz was transported to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, described in very critical condition Thursday night.

Arlington Heights residents Kevin Crawford, 52; Anita Crawford, 50; and Kirsten Crawford, 20, identities were released Friday morning. Kevin Crawford was the driver of the Chevrolet Impala. Two younger surviving children in the Crawford family, who were not involved in the crash, are in the care of their grandparents.

Piotr Rog’s identity was also released Friday morning.

Two occupants in the Toyota Highlander were treated at the scene and released with apparent minor injuries.

Northwest Highway was closed in both directions between Mount Prospect Road and Wolf Road until about 5:30 a.m. Friday for a prolonged crash investigation. Des Plaines towing service Tri-R-Service Inc. removed the wrecked vehicles.

VIEWER DISCRETION: High-speed head-on crash with extrication on Northwest Highway between Mount Prospect Road and Wolf Road.

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