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posted: 9/2/2012 9:15 PM

Elgin teen dies in early-morning crash

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An Elgin teen was killed and another was seriously injured in a one-car accident west of Burlington early Sunday morning, Kane County sheriff's officials said.

Two other teenage boys in the car -- the driver and a front seat passenger -- walked several miles to an Elgin hospital from the accident scene on Plank Road west of Engel Road.

Back-seat passenger Lawrence Echols, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other back seat passenger, a 19-year-old male from South Elgin, had to be extricated from the vehicle and was flown to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. He was listed in serious condition Sunday night.

The search for the two teens who walked away from the crash involved several law enforcement and emergency agencies, including K-9 units from three departments and a helicopter. At about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, deputies learned they were both at Sherman Hospital in Elgin. They were released after treatment and tests, a Sherman Hospital spokeswoman said.

"We were afraid they got into a cornfield and got disoriented," said Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County sheriff's office. "We knew it was an emotional accident with a fatality and another person airlifted. They're not from that area and might not understand if they got into a cornfield and disoriented and lost, it could be real difficult. That's why we had so many resources out there."

Neither of the teens had cellphones because they were left in the car, Gengler said.

"They told us they walked," he said. "The crash happened at 1 a.m., and they got to the hospital at 10:30 a.m. There's railroad tracks north of the scene, and if they followed them, it would have left them off right there by the hospital. They looked like they had been walking in woods or cornfields."

By road, the hospital it is about 14 miles from the scene of the accident, but Gengler said if they followed the main roads, the teens would have been spotted and reported.

Based on the initial investigation, the sheriff's department said a sedan traveling west apparently at a high rate of speed crossed the centerline and left the roadway on the south side of Plank Road. It then rolled several times and struck a tree.

No charges were filed Sunday, and the Kane County sheriff's office and Accident Reconstruction Team continue to investigate. It was not known Sunday whether the rear seat passengers were wearing seat belts, said Gengler.

The portion of Plank Road between Engel Road and County Line Road was closed until about 11 a.m. Sunday.

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