Security video shows high-speed crash at Northwest Highway and Arlington Heights Road (SOURCE: Arlington Heights Police Department). YouTube Tips ⓘ
Police, firefighters, and paramedics responded about 7:35 a.m. Sunday, October 30, 2022 to a report of a crash with entrapment at Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway, adjacent to the Union Pacific grade crossing.
Police, firefighters and paramedics discovered two vehicles involved in the crash, and that each vehicle was occupied by the driver only. Arlington Heights Fire Department firefighters and paramedics extricated a male adult, Johnny Benitez, from a Nissan Juke, and provided immediate medical care. Benitez was transported to Level 1 Trauma Center Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL for treatment of his injuries.
The driver of the 2010 Toyota Camry also received medical at the scene and was transported to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights for assessment and treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. His wife took a taxi to the scene, expecting to see her husband, but he had already been transported to Northwest Community Hospital. An Arlington Heights police officer immediately drove her to the emergency department entrance Northwest Community Hospital.
Investigation of the crash revealed that the 2020 Nissan Juke driven by Johnny Benitez, age 31, of the block of 900 9th Street Northfield, IL, was traveling southbound Arlington Heights Road approaching the intersection with Northwest Highway. The Nissan Juke was traveling at speeds in excess of 100mph just prior to sideswiping a 2010 Toyota Camry, which was also traveling southbound, and had just started moving in traffic when the red light changed to a green light. After the impact, the Johnny Benitez lost control of his Nissan Juke and struck the rail grade crossing overhead signal standard on the northwest corner of the crossing. The Nissan Juke came to rest within the crossing, resulting in all three railroad tracks being closed for several hours.
The Speed Limit on Arlington Heights Road near the crash scene is 30 MPH according to images from Google Maps Street View.
The Arlington Heights Police Department urges motorists to drive responsibility, pay attention to surrounding traffic, wear your seatbelt and never drive while under the influence of any intoxicating substance.
— Arlington Heights Police Department
The entire crash was caught on video from an exterior business surveillance camera mounted on a building near the intersection. Based upon the severity of the crash and suspicion on impairment of Benitez, an Arlington Heights Police Department Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) was assigned to the investigation.
Union Pacific Railroad personnel quickly responded to the scene following the traffic crash to begin necessary repairs of the damaged grade crossing signals. Since the crash, all incoming train traffic has been required to provide audible signal (train horn) when approaching the crossing due to the temporary nature of the repairs needed. The investigation revealed Benitez was operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Benitez was released from Lutheran General Hospital, processed and charged with one one felony, four misdemeanors and four traffic-related offenses, to include:
• Aggravated Driving Under the Influence (Class 4 Felony)
• Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Class A Misdemeanor)
• Reckless Driving (Class A Misdemeanor)
• Driving on a Revoked Driver’s License (Class A Misdemeanor)
• Speeding 35+ MPH Over Limit (Class A Misdemeanor)
• Improper Lane Usage (Traffic Offense)
• Failure to Reduce Speed (Traffic Offense)
• Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle (Traffic Offense)
• Failure to Wear a Seatbelt (Traffic Offense)
Benitez appeared before a 3rd District Cook County Judge on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Benitez was issued a $15,000 D-bond with a court date of November 23rd, 2022 at 9:00am.
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