BEACH PARK -- A four-vehicle accident left two children in critical condition and a Zion man dead Oct. 8, police said.
About 6:45 p.m., Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Green Bay Road north of Wadsworth Road, Beach Park, for a major traffic crash. Four vehicles were involved, according to a news release.
Preliminary investigation shows a 2017 Jeep Patriot, driven by a 50-year-old Zion woman, was traveling north on Green Bay Road. The driver of the Jeep was passing a tow truck, which was towing a semi-tractor. The driver of the Jeep was illegally passing the tow truck and was traveling north in the southbound lanes of traffic.
The Jeep collided head-on with a southbound 2014 Kia Soul, driven by a 49-year-old Zion man. This caused the Jeep to rotate and strike the tow truck, driven by a 35-year-old man of Kenosha, Wisconsin. A Ford Explorer, driven by a 58-year-old woman of unincorporated Zion, was traveling south on Green Bay Road, directly behind the Kia, and the Jeep also collided with the Ford.
There was an 11-year-old Zion boy in the Kia, unrestrained, and a 13-year-old Zion boy in the Kia, also unrestrained. Both children suffered critical injuries.
The 11-year-old was flown via medical helicopter to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. The 13-year-old boy was transported via ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
The driver of the Kia was transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital in Waukegan, where he was later pronounced dead. He has been identified as Jose Hernandez Jr., 49, of Zion. Preliminary autopsy results indicate that he died from multiple blunt force injuries as a result of the crash, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.
The driver of the Jeep was taken via ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center with minor injuries. A passenger in the Jeep, a 60-year-old woman of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the Ford and a passenger in the Ford, a 24-year-old man of unincorporated Zion, were transported via ambulance to Vista East Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the tow truck was uninjured.
An autopsy for the driver of the Kia has been scheduled by the Lake County Coroner’s Office for Oct. 12.
The crash remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Unit.