An Alsip teenager was killed and six people hospitalized after a horrific collision December 27 near Ridgeland Avenue and Route 83 in Palos Heights. (Photo courtesy of Palos Heights Police Department)

An Alsip teenager was killed and six people hospitalized after a horrific collision December 27 near Ridgeland Avenue and Route 83 in Palos Heights. (Photo courtesy of Palos Heights Police Department)

Teen dies, 6 hospitalized in Palos Heights car crash

By Bob Bong

A 14-year-old girl from Alsip was killed Monday night in a two-vehicle crash in Palos Heights that sent six other people to the hospital, two in critical condition.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Madison Harrison as the girl who was killed when she was ejected through the rear window of a Honda Civic after it collided head-on with a Chevy Tahoe just before 7 p.m. Monday night in the 6300 block of College Drive (Route 83) near Ridgeland Avenue.

Deputy Police Chief Bill Czajkowski said “it appears perhaps reckless driving” was the cause of the fatal collision.

He said witnesses said the Honda Civic was driving erratically and was going eastbound in the westbound lanes when it was struck by the Tahoe.

“Witnesses said the Civic went onto the grassy shoulder veered back onto the street and crossed into the westbound lanes.”

He said all three teens in the back seat were ejected. “That tells us they were probably not strapped in.”

“We will be seeking warrants for the black boxes in the cars,” he said. “That will tell us what the cars were doing.”

He said the black boxes can tell police how fast the cars were going, whether brakes were used and how the cars were being steered. “It’s a lot like the black boxes in an airplane.”

Czajkowski said the driver of the car was 17. All of the teens ranged from 14 to 17 years old. They were all students at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island and lived in the Alsip or Blue Island area.

“Everybody was hurt,” he said. The driver of the Tahoe and the five surviving teens were taken to a number of hospitals including Comer Children’s Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center and Lurie.

“There are potentially serious charges pending against the driver,” he said.

An accident reconstructionist from the Palos Heights Police Department is working on the case.

“The roadway was dry, so we do not believe weather was a factor,” Czajkowski said.

College Drive between Ridgeland and Austin was closed for several hours Monday night as police cleaned up the accident scene.

Czajkowski said that while officers were involved in the crash investigation, two men robbed the Shell station at College Drive and Ridgeland and escaped with cash.

“They took advantage of all of us working the crash,” he said. “Nobody was hurt in the robbery.”

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