A 17-year-old Illinois teen driving an SUV that collided with a tree in Hickory Hills on Saturday afternoon was arrested. Juvenile charges are pending as the single-car crash that killed four teenagers is still being put together by Hickory Hills police and the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team.
A 2008 Mercedes SUV was traveling east on 89th Street at a very high rate of speed just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday. According to authorities, the driver lost control of the car when it swerved off the road.
A vehicle collided with a tree in Illinois, killing four teens
On the north side of 89th Street, the SUV collided with a big tree, which was split in half. The SUV's six passengers were all from Justice. Two other passengers, including the 17-year-old driver, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The 17-year-old driver of the car was arrested after being released from the hospital and has been charged with reckless homicide and traffic violations in Cook County Juvenile Court. After four other teens were killed in a horrific car crash in southwest suburban Hickory Hills over the weekend, a juvenile driver was charged.
Police said the driver tried to "go airborne" over a hill. All of the victims were teens from the southwest suburban area. The deceased teens all from Justice are the following: Omarion Rieves, 17; his 15-year-old brother Jemerrio X. Rieves; Nathaniel Phillips, 17; and Destiny M. Giera, 16.
Per KEYT, the Illinois teen was charged as a juvenile with reckless homicide and traffic charges, Hickory Hills Police noted. Due to their age, the driver's name will not be revealed. In a statement, the police claimed a witness described the vehicle did go airborne after traveling through the intersection at 86th Avenue.
Locals speculated that the SUV must have been traveling at a high rate of speed when it collided with a tree and split in two, but authorities have yet to specify how fast it was driving.
Parents, Illinois residents mourn for the deaths of the teens
"The car did go airborne, as reported by a witness, in what we believe to be an effort to fly airborne over the top of the hill at 86th Avenue," Hickory Hills Police Chief Charles Hobart said in a press release, Patch reported.
Jocelyn Gonzales, a neighbor, said all the four teens were great kids, while another neighbor Joanna Proszak, heard a really loud boom and immediately called 911. She said to the authorities that she saw two bodies on the ground.
According to the Cook County medical examiner's office, two of the victims, Omarion Rieves and Nathaniel Phillips, both 17, died at the scene, while Destiny M Giera, 16, and Jemerrio X Rieves, 15, died upon arriving at the hospital. The vehicle had a total of six people inside when it crashed, and two of them, including the driver, were treated and released from the hospital, said the authorities.
The incident has prompted police to begin an inquiry. Residents in the neighborhood, including parents of the slain teens, held vigils throughout the weekend to mourn the deaths of the children, as per The Independent via MSN.
At the site on Sunday, it was an emotional day and evening. A balloon release and separate candlelight vigils for the victims were held, each serving as a reminder of the staggering number of young lives lost.