Man Dies After Crash that Trapped Him in Work Van, US 14 and Countryside Dr, Palatine

Extrication of a man from a work van that crashed into a large pole at Northwest Highway (US 14) and Countryside Drive Palatine. YouTube Tips ⓘ

Police, firefighters and paramedics from Palatine responded about 2:02 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, 2021 to a report of a crash with injuries and entrapment at Northwest Highway and Countryside Drive in Palatine.




Police, firefighters and paramedics on arrival discovered that the driver of a white Chevrolet work van had crashed head-on into a large ComEd pole/standard at the northwest corner of Northwest Highway (US 14) and Countryside Drive. The van appeared to have been westbound on Northwest Highway before the crash.

Engine 36’s crew on arrival reported a one-vehicle crash with entrapment, and immediately updated that there was heavy entrapment. Fire command then reported a prolonged extrication was underway with the vehicle stabilized, and one patient in the van.




Shelving in the cargo area of the van used for HVAC work caused obstruction during extrication. Firefighters used Hurst tools and air chisels to cut and spread metal away from the victim in the vehicle. The ComEd pole was located at the base of the windshield with intrusion to the firewall. C-Posts were cut, and entire panels of metal were cut away from the side of the vehicle.

There was no electrical hazard associated with the large ComEd pole.

The male driver was extricated by about 3:30 a.m., and was immediately transported to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.




Palatine Police Department reported they responded to the block of 1400 West Northwest Highway for a single-vehicle crash about 2:00 a.m., and said the vehicle was driven by Christian Serpe, age 34, of Bloomingdale. Serpe’s Facebook page describes him as a resident of Cary, Illinois, and owner at Thermal Pro, which was also the brand name visible on the work van.

Serpe sustained severe injuries, and underwent emergency trauma surgery at Lutheran General Hospital, but was pronounced dead about 4:00 a.m., according to the Palatine Police Department.




Palatine police reported there were no other passengers in the vehicle, and initially no video of the crash was known to be available for evidence. The Cook County Medical Examiner requested the body of Serpe, and will be conducting their own investigation, according to Palatine Police Department.

The Speed Limit is 45 MPH on Northwest Highway with a Speed Limit reduction to 35 MPH for a curve at Baldwin Road/Countryside Drive near the crash scene.

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Extrication on the driver's side of a Chevrolet work van
Extrication on the driver’s side of a Chevrolet work van.
Extrication on the driver's side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van
Extrication on the driver’s side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van.
Extrication on the driver's side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van
Extrication on the driver’s side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van.
Extrication on the driver's side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van while another crew was working on the passenger side
Extrication on the driver’s side of a Chevrolet work van with a strut stabilizing the van while another crew was working on the passenger side.




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