19-year-old was killed in fatal Joliet crash: coroner

Speed may have played factor in single-vehicle crash near Cass Street bridge, police said

The driver who died in a fiery single-vehicle crash near the Cass Street bridge was identified late Tuesday evening as a 19-year-old from Joliet.

The fatal crash from Sunday remains under investigation but early indication appears that speed may have been a factor, Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English said.

The Will County Coroner’s office reported on their Facebook page at 9 p.m. Tuesday that the person who died is Juan Salazar, 19, of Joliet. Will County Coroner Laurie Summers had not responded to repeated calls earlier inquiring on whether the man has been identified.

At about 7:33 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the area of Western Avenue and North Bluff Street for a report of a single-vehicle crash with injuries, police said.

Officers found a vehicle fully engulfed in the flames. Joliet Fire Chief Greg Blaskey said that crews extinguished the fire but the victim suffered serious burns and bodily injuries, and he died on the scene.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Will County Coroner Laurie Summers has not responded to repeated calls inquiring on whether the man has been identified. The coroner’s office had not released a name.

The coroner office’s Facebook page said an autopsy was be performed Monday, and the final cause and manner of death will be determined after autopsy, police and toxicology reports are obtained.

English said on Tuesday that after reviewing police reports, it appeared the driver has yet to be positively identified. But he said identification would come from the coroner’s office.

A preliminary investigation by Joliet police determined that the driver was heading west and crossed the Cass Street bridge, where the road becomes Western Avenue, when his vehicle left the roadway to the right, overturned, and came to a final rest after striking a light pole and metal fence.

Officers determined the driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Blaskey said he became pinned between the vehicle and fence after being partially ejected in the crash.

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News