19-year-old Harvard man dies from crash that shut down Route 14 near Woodstock

A 19-year-old Harvard man has died from critical injuries that he suffered in a Monday afternoon crash along Route 14 between Harvard and Woodstock after being flown to a hospital in Rockford.

Diego Gonzalez-Mendoza died at 9:26 p.m. Monday at Javon Bea Hospital in Rockford, about seven hours after the crash, the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office confirmed Friday. The preliminary cause of death is blunt head trauma because of the crash, the coroner’s office said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office; the Harvard, Marengo and Woodstock fire departments; MD-1; and LifeNet responded to the three-vehicle crash about 2:15 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Officials believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, and the crash remains under investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Traffic Crash Investigation Unit.

According to the preliminary investigation, a Chevrolet Cruze was traveling south on Route 14 and tried to pass a semitrailer through the intersection with Dunham Road, continuing into a no-passing zone.

The car then went into the southbound lane and rear-ended another vehicle, which ended up in a nearby field. The Chevrolet stayed in the southbound lane, crossed over the road, and exited left into a parking lot of a nearby business, hitting a car parked there, according to the release.

A natural gas main was severed in the crash, causing a gas leak, police said. Nicor Gas responded to the scene and contained the leak.

Gonzalez-Mendoza was the driver of the Chevrolet.

Officials said airbags deployed, and the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

The driver and passenger of the car that was rear-ended were both uninjured and wearing seat belts, according to the release.