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updated: 2/20/2013 5:12 PM

Investigators look at speed, weather in fatal crash

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  • Ashley Seay

    Ashley Seay

  • Joel Wittkamp

    Joel Wittkamp


Accident investigators say they are looking at speed and weather in trying to determine the cause of a single-vehicle crash that killed two teenagers in Antioch Township.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said investigators are working to determine the speed Joel Wittkamp, 16, of Antioch, was traveling when he lost control of a 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and it veered off the pavement about 7 p.m. Monday.

Curran said it's unknown how long the investigation will take and when that information would be available to the public. After the collision, authorities said they believed weather played a role, but didn't provide specifics.

Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Orlando Portillo said Wednesday autopsies will not be done on Wittkamp and his passenger, Ashley Seay, 17, of Lindenhurst. Authorities said the teens were pronounced dead at the scene.

Portillo said a full toxicology test was completed and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Results should be available in two weeks or so, he added.

Sheriff's police said Wittkamp was driving west on the 27000 block of Wilmot Road when the crash occurred. The sport-utility vehicle went through a yard and into a tree. The force of the crash was strong enough to uproot the 24-inch diameter tree and knock it over.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen said conditions were recorded at Waukegan Regional Airport at 6:52 p.m. Monday. The airport -- about 22 miles east from where the crash happened at 7 p.m. -- is the weather service's official recording station for Lake County.

Enderlen said the temperature was 47 degrees and a trace amount of rain fell about 6:30 p.m. She said visibility was 8 miles with an overcast sky.

Wind was recorded at 16 mph, gusting to 23 mph, Enderlen said.

Seay attended Lakes High School in Lake Villa, while Wittkamp was an Antioch High School student. Their Facebook postings indicate Wittkamp and Seay were in a relationship at the time of their deaths.

Wittkamp's funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 1501 Deep Lake Road in Antioch, with visitation beginning at 11 a.m. Interment will be private.

Seay was remembered as a sociable, respectful young woman who devoted herself to studying cosmetology at the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus in Grayslake, where she spent half of her academic days. Wittkamp, who played junior varsity football at Antioch High, was remembered for an easygoing personality and being technology savvy, as well as having an enjoyment of music, shopping and cooking.

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