Pickup Truck and Driver Sought for Investigation Found Submerged in Des Plaines River; Fatal Crash Near Gurnee

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Lake County Sheriff’s Traffic Crash Investigators are investigating a pickup truck and deceased driver that were located in the Des Plaines River last night.

Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2024 to a report that a pickup truck was found submerged in the Des Plaines River near a residence in the block of 36500 North Route 41 in unincorporated Gurnee. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and located the vehicle partially submerged with the driver deceased.

Preliminary investigation shows a homeowner, who lives at his residence on North Route 41 near Stearns School Road north of Riverside Drive and north of Fatman’s Pizza Pub Sports Bar, arrived home and located tire tracks in his yard. He followed the tire tracks, which led to the river, where he located a 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Stearns School Road intersects from the west side of Route 41 in a T-intersection.

When sheriff’s telecommunicators ran the license plate of the Toyota, they determined in recent history that the particular pickup truck’s driver had fled from a local police department on April 3, 2024 around 9:45 p.m. — approximately 1.5 miles away from the crash scene. Lake County Sheriff’s telecommunicators also determined that the vehicle was called in as a wrong way driver incident about 18 hours earlier on April 3, 2024, at 3:40 a.m. in the area of Route 173 and Kilbourne Road. This intersection connected the to the wrong-way driver report is located on the north side of Wadsworth in Newport Township — about five miles north of the fatal unincorporated Gurnee crash scene.

Lake County Sheriff’s crash investigators are working to determine the approximate time of the crash, and to determine the cause of the crash. The driver of the Toyota has been preliminarily identified as a 79-year-old man of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene, and autopsy scheduling was underway Friday morning.

The crash, apparently a single-vehicle crash, remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team.



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