Police: Driver who caused fatal crash was fleeing another accident
The driver who caused a crash that killed a 16-year-old Hersey High School student Saturday was fleeing the scene of a separate accident that occurred a minute earlier, Wheeling police said Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Wheeling man was being interviewed about both cases Tuesday, a day after he was released from a hospital where he was receiving treatment for crash injuries, according to Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Todd Wolff.
No charges have been filed as of Tuesday, but Wolff said an announcement could come today.
The fatal crash occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday, when the 30-year-old man's vehicle rear-ended the car Alyssa Lendino and her family members were riding in at Milwaukee Avenue and Hintz Road. The Mount Prospect residents were at a stoplight when they were struck from behind, forcing their sedan into a pickup truck that was turning from eastbound Hintz to northbound Milwaukee.
Wolff said the driver was traveling at a "high rate of speed" when he rear-ended the Lendino family's car.
Alyssa's father and 12-year-old sister remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition. Her mother was released the day after the crash.
Two men who were in the pickup truck were treated for minor injuries and released.
The driver who started the chain-reaction collision didn't have any passengers with him, Wolff said.
The first crash occurred just up the road a minute earlier, near Milwaukee and Manchester Drive, he said. One other vehicle was involved, but no injuries were reported.
The Major Case Assistance Team, which is conducting the investigation with Wheeling police, are working to reconstruct exactly how the crash occurred and reviewing video from nearby businesses and car dashboards, Wolff said.
Toxicology tests also are being conducted, he added.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help cover the Lendino family's expenses. As of Tuesday afternoon, the effort had raised more than $11,000.
Alyssa was entering her junior year at Hersey, where she was a member of the track and field, bowling and swim teams.
Counselors from the school's student services department were available to students and staff members Tuesday and will be again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.
"Our condolences go out to the Lendino family and all who are impacted by this loss," Associate Principal Joseph Krajacic wrote in a message to the school community. "Our Hersey family also mourns this sudden and untimely loss."
Alyssa also worked a summer job as a dining room server at Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, within the Hearthstone senior living community. Residents who got to know her have been "awfully distraught" with the loss and have held prayer services in her honor, said Rex Paisley, a Lutheran Home spokesman. They also plan to dedicate a planting in her memory in the gardens on campus, he added.
Funeral arrangements are pending.