Palatine man dies after minivan hits tree in Arlington Heights

A 49-year-old Palatine man was killed Friday when his minivan veered into oncoming traffic and struck a tree in Arlington Heights, authorities said.

The driver, Damon Ross, was unresponsive at the scene near the intersection of Arlington Heights Road and White Oak Street about 9:30 a.m. and was pronounced dead a short time later at Northwest Community Hospital, police said. No other cars were involved, and no other injuries were reported.

The driver, who was the sole occupant of a blue 2005 Dodge Caravan, was traveling south on Arlington Heights Road just south of Central Road when his vehicle faded into the oncoming lanes of traffic, mounted the east curb and ultimately struck a large parkway tree, according to police.

It's still unknown why the crash occurred. Police said excessive speed didn't appear to play a role, and impairment wasn't suspected. And, they added, the victim was wearing his seat belt.

"It was unclear if the crash was predicated by a medical event or other episode, resulting in the 2005 Dodge Caravan's roadway departure, or if the case simply involved driver error," according to a police department news release.

The early investigation also didn't reveal any independent witnesses to the crash.

An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday at the Cook County medical examiner's office. Arlington Heights police also said they are continuing their investigation.

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