Five people were killed in a pair of fiery, wrong-way crashes early Monday on the Eisenhower Expressway.
One crash happened downtown about 1:40 a.m. near Wells Street, according to Illinois State Police.
A wrong-way driver on an eastbound ramp from I-290 collided head-on with another driver, causing both vehicles to erupt in flames, state police spokeswoman Gabriela Ugarte said in an emailed statement.
Both drivers and a passenger of the struck vehicle died at the scene, Ugarte said. One of the deceased drivers was a 51-year-old Skokie man, while a deceased passenger was a 24-year-old Chicago woman, state police said.
The driver and two passengers of a third car struck by the crashing vehicles, three Chicago woman in their 20s, went to hospitals with minor injuries, Ugarte said.
The eastbound exit from I-290 was closed until 6:15 a.m., Ugarte said.
Second fatal crash at Des Plaines Avenue
A half hour earlier, another fatal wrong-way crash happened on I-290 near west suburban Forest Park.
About 1:10 a.m., a wrong-way driver in the eastbound lanes hit a car near Des Plaines Avenue, Ugarte said. Both drivers died at the scene. A passenger in the struck vehicle was hospitalized with injuries that weren’t life-threatening. Media reports showed vehicles on fire in the crash.
All eastbound lanes were closed until 6:10 a.m.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office hasn’t released the victims’ names.