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updated: 5/29/2013 2:09 PM

Woman charged with DUI in fiery Elk Grove Village crash

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A woman injured after a fiery crash on Interstate 290 in Elk Grove Village early Wednesday morning has been charged with driving under the influence and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, authorities said.

The driver, identified as Raegan Kotz, 31, of Burr Ridge, lost control of her minivan and hit a light pole near Biesterfield Road along westbound I-290 at about 1:40 a.m., authorities said.

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Illinois State Police Sgt. Brent Hop said the van then veered across all lanes of traffic and hit the concrete median barrier, where it began to smoke.

A passing motorist -- an off-duty firefighter who witnessed the crash -- stopped his vehicle, climbed over the median wall and walked up to Kotz urging her to get out of the van mere minutes before the vehicle was engulfed in flames, Hop said.

"He approached the victim from the eastbound lanes and saw her talking on her cellphone," Hop said. "He told her she may want to get out of the car and then helped her away from the vehicle. She got out of the van on her own, and waited for fire rescue to arrive."

The off-duty firefighter requested he not be identified.

Kotz was taken to Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village with minor injuries, but no burns, Hop said.

Driving under the influence, which is a misdemeanor offense, is punishable by up to a year in jail, while the traffic violation usually involves a fine, Hop said.

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