A Palatine man died and three other people were hospitalized after a grisly five-vehicle crash Monday afternoon on Rand Road in Arlington Heights.
Police said the 51-year-old Palatine man, whose name has not been released, was speeding northwest in the southeast lanes in a red Chevrolet Colorado, causing the crash about 12:15 p.m. on the 1000 block of East Rand Road, between Dryden Avenue and Thomas Avenue.
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The man was pronounced dead at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge around 1 p.m., according to a news release.
Another driver, a 48-year-old man from Vernon Hills, was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. As of 4:30 p.m. he was in the ICU, listed in critical condition, police said.
Two other drivers were also transported, one to Advocate Condell Medical Center and one to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, but police said neither of them suffered life-threatening injuries.
Hersey High School is just a block away from the accident scene, but no students were involved in the crash.
"In addition to driving on the wrong side of the road, high speed on the part of the wrong-way driver also appears to be a contributing factor," said a statement issued Monday afternoon by the Arlington Heights police.
Police are investigating why the Palatine man was driving in the wrong lanes.
The pileup closed Rand Road in both directions for more than three hours Monday afternoon.
"It was a pretty horrific thing," said Dave Gavin of Mount Prospect.
Gavin was across the street at Sports Page Bar & Grill and ran outside after the accident.
"It was shocking. I've never seen a crash that bad," he said.
The pickup truck carrying the deceased driver had flipped over and the engine of one of the vehicles wound up in the middle of the street.
Several workers at Altimate Trans & Auto on Rand Road ran outside to try to help.
"I heard a loud noise, and the cars kept piling up," said Chirag Patel of Bartlett, a manager at the shop.
Patel said he called 911 and ran to each car, trying to see how the people were doing and keep them calm.
"One woman was screaming so much because of her husband's injuries, so I told her just to turn around and not look until the (responders) could get him out," Patel said.
Patel and his employees were shaken up most of the day, he admitted.
"I was a little lost trying to help," he said. "I've never witnessed anything like this."