CHICAGO (WLS) —
An off-duty Chicago police officer was being pursued by police before being killed in a crash that also claimed the life of a woman early Tuesday morning in the Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s West Side.
Chicago police said two vehicles were involved in the crash shortly after 1 a.m. in the 4400-block of West Roosevelt Road.
Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said the off-duty officer was driving in his personal SUV and crashed with another vehicle that a woman was driving. He said it appears the cars collided at a high rate of speed.
Witnesses said a Nissan being driven by the woman was T-boned by a Jeep being driven by the off-duty officer.
Both the officer and woman pinned into their vehicles which caught fire. They were pronounced dead at the scene and their identities have not been released.
Police said the officer worked in the 10th police district and had left the station prior to the crash. He was a four-year veteran of the department.
A cab driver who did not want to be identified saw it all unfold. He said he saw a Jeep take off at a high rate of speed running from a police car. Video from a nearby church showed the two speeding down the street, first the Jeep and then the squad car with its blue lights activated.
“When the Jeep took off, the police took off right behind him,” the cab driver said.
Police confirm they were trying to pull the Jeep over for a traffic stop. Superintendent Johnson said the Jeep matched the description of a vehicle from a previous crime but turned out to not be that vehicle.
Johnson said the Jeep was being pursued by an unmarked car that turned its lights on but not its siren and at some point disengaged the pursuit. The unmarked police car did not have a dashboard camera.
Since the crash involved an off-duty officer and a police pursuit, Johnson has asked the Independent Police Review Authority to investigate the crash.
At least 20 police cruisers were seen leaving Stroger Hospital in a procession following the officer’s body.
Superintendent Johnson offered the department’s deepest condolences to the family of the police officer and the young woman who was killed.
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