Three-vehicle crash kills four Buffalo Grove High School students at Dundee Road and Schoenbeck Road in Wheeling, Tuesday night, May 16, 2023. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Four Buffalo Grove High School students were killed Tuesday night in a crash in Wheeling, according to an email sent to the high school community for Buffalo Grove High School in Township High School District 214. The Cook County Medical Examiners Office identified three of the victims as Richard De-Ita, age 18, Kevin Hernandez-Teran, age 17, and Jesus Rodriguez, age 16. All three were residents of Wheeling.
The fourth victim killed in the crash was identified as Ricky Barcenas, age 17, of Arlington Heights, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office. He was a back seat passenger, and was transported to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville (Lake County), where he succumbed to his injuries hours later in the intensive care unit.
According to preliminary results of the Lake County Coroner’s Office investigation, Ricky Barcenas died from blunt force injuries as a result of the crash.
Police, firefighters and paramedics from Wheeling responded about 10:19 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, 2023 to a report of a serious crash with injuries at Dundee Road and Schoenbeck Road immediately after an initial 9-1-1 call reporting a transformer fire at Walgreens. Numerous activated trouble alarms from the apparent power disturbance near the area in Wheeling were also received, according to RED Center fire dispatch.
A power pole was hit during the crash. A motorist — not knowing there had been a crash on Dundee Road — told Cardinal News later on Tuesday night that a large explosion of light occurred in the area.
Police, firefighters and paramedics arrived to find three vehicles with severe front-end damage. According to the Wheeling Police Department, seven people were extricated and transported to area hospitals. Four or five people were extricated from the center-located vehicle with the most severe damage. The center vehicle was described by police as the primary vehicle in the crash. Eight ambulances were assigned to the scene.
Two teens were pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Wheeling Police Department, four teens between the ages of 16 and 18 were killed when they were occupants in the primary vehicle.
Over 700 ComEd customers lost power overnight, but power was restored before sunrise. The power outage was isolated to about 400 customers without power by about 4:00 a.m., and then completely restored by about 5:00 a.m. (times estimated).
The northwest suburban Major Case Assistance Team — Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction unit along with Wheeling police crash investigators worked through the night at the crash scene.
According to the Wheeling Police Department, “speed” and a “disregarded traffic signal” seem to be the primary factors involved in the crash on initial assessment. The Speed Limit on Dundee Road east and west of the intersection with Schoenbeck Road is 35 MPH, according to Google Maps Street View images captured August 2022, and Speed Limit signs posted currently near the scene.
The primary vehicle in which the teens were traveling may have been moving at a very speed eastbound on Dundee Road. The primary vehicle may have hit a sedan (second vehicle) in the intersection, and then may have continued eastbound on Dundee Road, hitting the third vehicle. An engine disconnected from one the vehicles and came to rest in an eastbound lane near the bus stop shelter in front of the Walgreens property. The bus stop shelter was damaged or destroyed by debris from the vehicles.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash, or who may have seen reckless driving before the crash occurred is asked to contact the Wheeling Police Department at 847-459-2632.
On-scene investigation after three-vehicle crash kills four Buffalo Grove High School students on Dundee Road and Schoenbeck Road Wheeling. YouTube Tips ⓘ
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