2 Fatal Wrong-Way Crashes with Fire I-290 E: Near DesPlaines Ave, Near I-90/94

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5 Killed in 2 Wrong-Way Crashes

Five people killed in two wrong-way crashes on I-290 (the Eisenhower Expressway) within about 30 minutes very early Monday, March 29, 2021 (CBS Chicago). YouTube Tips ⓘ

Five people were killed in two separate crashes on I-290 less than 30 minutes apart. The first wrong-way crash occurred about 1:13 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-290 just east of DesPlaines Avenue, killing two people. The second crash occurred about 1:39 a.m. on the Eisenhower Expressway near the Jane Byrne interchange. Three people were killed in the second crash.

UPDATE: Article updated with corrections at 11:59 a.m. Monday, March 29, 2021 (initially published at 2:56 a.m.)

Illinois State Police and firefighters and paramedics from Forest Park responded about 1:13 a.m. Monday, March 29, 2021 to a report of a head-on crash with fire and entrapment on I-290 between DesPlaines Avenue and Harlem Avenue near Forest Park. Minutes earlier police received a report of one or two wrong-way drivers going westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-290. Police had received a report that there were two vehicles traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-290 from Central Road about 1:13 a.m. Illinois State Police had been searching for those two wrong-way drivers shortly before the crash occurred near DesPlaines Avenue.

The details of the two crashes are updated below.

The first trooper on arrival reported vehicles on fire with a fire tornado in the tunnel in the eastbound lanes at Des Plaines Avenue. All lanes on I-290 EAST were shut down. Police on arrival also reported explosions involving the burning vehicles and set up a perimeter of 100-200 feet until firefighters moved in to extinguish the fire. At least three vehicles were involved with fire and explosions occurring.

Initially drivers in two of the vehicles were reported dead at the scene. A third injured person was transported by Forest Park Fire Department paramedics to Loyola.

Illinois State Police were diverting traffic on eastbound I-290 off the expressway at 1st Avenue. Crash investigation work with all lanes blocked may have been ongoing until about 6:00 a.m. (estimated time).


A second wrong-way crash was reported about 1:39 a.m. on I-290 eastbound near Halsted involving three vehicles with a fire. The crash was initially reported near Wells and near Ashland Avenue. Metra police and Illinois State police arrived at the second crash by 1:43 a.m. reporting three vehicles on fire on I-290 East near Ashland Avenue. The three vehicles were fully engulfed with fire. All eastbound lanes of I-290 were blocked. Chicago Fire Department Engine 5’s crew was first on the scene up above the expressway with water supply by 1:43 a.m.

CFD Battalion 4 on arrival reported three vehicles on fire with one person down on the side of the roadway.

One person was killed in one vehicle and two people were killed in another vehicle. Two deceased victims were discovered by 1:54 a.m. inside the vehicles. The third deceased person was discovered by about 2:23 a.m. Additionally, at least three passengers were assessed by paramedics and one patient was transported to Stroger. One patient was described as Code Yellow (initially non-life-threatening injuries) and two were Code Green (minor injuries). The two Code Green patients refused medical transportation.

CFD Ambulances 45, 28 and 65 responded to the scene. A CFD EMS Field Chief was also assigned to the crash scene.

All the vehicle fires in the second crash were extinguished by about 2:20 a.m. A Range Rover, a Ford Escape and a Ford Edge were involved in the second crash near the Jane Byrne Interchange.

LIVE TRAFFIC MAP at Fatal Crash near Jane Byrne Interchange …

The information in this article is an early report published before any summary information was confirmed or released by police or fire authorities.


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