State police responded to the southbound lanes of Interstate 94 at 63rd Street just before 11 a.m. for a reported crash involving three vehicles.
Preliminary reports indicate a car was driving the wrong way in the southbound lanes, when it hit a commercial vehicle and then another passenger car head-on, police said.
The driver of the wrong-way car and the front-seat passenger of the other passenger car were taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. The driver of the car that was hit was also hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
The passenger in the car that was hit later died, according to Claudia Sandoval, who said she was the passenger’s daughter. She identified the victim as Teresa Sandoval, 66, of Bridgeport.
State police confirmed one person had died after the crash. Chicago fire officials later said a second person died, as well.
Claudia Sandoval said her mother and father were headed to breakfast, as they normally do every Saturday morning. She said her father saw the wrong-way driver come at them at what appeared to be 100 mph. He said the passenger side of the car, where Teresa was sitting, was hit.
“She has left me with an empty, empty space in my heart that nobody will ever fill,” she said.
The wrong-way driver took her parents’ tradition away, and killed a loving mother and grandmother, Claudia Sandoval said. She added her mother would never fail to tell her daughter she loved her and that she was her sunshine.
“It’s a shame that it had to be this way. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared for this,” she said. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her. She just had a way of living life that she wanted us to remember her by, just being happy and ‘Don’t cry for me,’ she said, ‘when it’s my time to go. I’ll be happy, because I’ve lived a good life.'”
Every Saturday, her parents, Teresa and Francisco, would go to breakfast for their usual order. It was the couple’s weekly date, but, this time, they didn’t make it.
“He was crying, he goes ‘Claudia, we’ve had a terrible accident,” Claudia Sandoval said. “And he’s like, ‘and your mom’s in the car; they can’t get her out.’ They told me just to go back to the hospital and that a priest would be there. So as soon as they put us in the little room, I knew that, I knew, I knew that my mom was gone.”
Her father is being treated at University of Chicago Medical Center for minor injuries.
Her mother and she were planning to leave for a special trip to Mexico City in a few days. Her mother had said she wanted to finalize her will during the upcoming trip.
All southbound traffic on the Dan Ryan was diverted to the express lanes, while police investigated the crash.
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