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Police: Severe DUI Car Crash Caused Debris That Hit Nearby Houses

An Alsip man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center after driving off of the road, striking trees and landscaping, before coming to rest in a retention ditch off 135th Street Friday morning.

Updated, 1:52 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

An Alsip man is being treated for critical injuries Friday, after he drove off the road, destroying his car and causing debris from the car to strike nearby properties, off of 135th Street, according to police.

The Orland Park Police Department was called around 3 a.m. about a single-vehicle crash on 135th Street near Partridge Lane, said Orland Park Police Commander John Keating. A 2003 Jaguar was driving west on 135th Street when it moved into the eastbound lane, before leaving the road near Partridge Lane, Keating said. The car struck several trees and landscaping, causing severe damage to the car and sending shrapnel toward nearby properties, before it came to rest in a retention ditch on the southwest corner of the intersection, Keating said. 

The caller’s home was struck by debris from the vehicle, Keating said.

The car uprooted a tree that was between 16 and 18 inches in diameter, and the car's entire front end was split in half, Orland Fire Chief Ken Brucki said.

“The engine was completely extracted from the vehicle, and landed near a home in the area,” Keating said. “Investigators determined he was still in the vehicle, but he was partially ejected out of the passenger side door area.”

Only the driver was injured in the accident. No passengers were in the car at the time, Keating said. The driver was able to communicate verbally and was responding to pain, Brucki said.

Evacuating by helicopter was considered, given the initial difficulty of extricating the man from the damaged car, Brucki said. Firefighters were able to remove him in about 15 minutes, so the helicopter was canceled. Helicopters were seen hovering in the area, however those were news and traffic copters, Brucki said.

"It was a very challening extrication, because of how much he moved inside the vehicle," Brucki said. "Firefighters had to cut the roof off, and open and spread the passenger compartment to detangle him from the wreckage. They did an excellent job."

Peter Gonzales, 25, of the 11500 block of South Kolmar Avenue in Alsip, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with critical injuries. No update on his condition was available from the hospital around noon Friday.

“Based on the extent of vehicle damage and what was struck, it's amazing he wasn't injured more severely,” Keating said.

Gonzales was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving an uninsured vehicle, improper lane use, speeding over 40 mph above the posted limit and failure to wear a seat belt.

135th Street was closed for about six hours between 88th Avenue and 82nd Avenue/Partridge Lane.

Information about any prior arrests was not available Friday around noon.

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Grace Hopper January 21, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Terrible accident. I thought a bomb webt off. I can't believe he survived such a wreck. I wasn't aware that AOL owned Patch.
Xtina January 24, 2013 at 06:06 PM
@Nick Simone. Roadblocks save lives. The cops were probably "mad" at you because you had a bad attitude from the get-go. I personally am happy to ever get stopped by one. If you don't like it, move to a country where they don't care, along with your whiny, complaining, negative and argumentative attitude. I pray you or a loved one doesn't get smashed up by a drunk driver that wasn't caught by the "police state" as you put it. I think it is honorable and courageous for a family that has tragically lost a young girl, whether she was drinking or not, to turn their loss into an educational story so that it doesn't happen to others. Shame on you for attacking them and the foundation. It was tragic under any circumstance, and right away you go to a conspiracy-theory rant? I pray it isn't your daughter, or sister, or girlfriend that is hit by a drunk driver someday. Ben, keep up the great work.
Sue S. January 24, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Ben, thanks for responding to this misleading and confusing comment. I was wondering if the poster had clicked wrong, or if he just had an agenda. : /
Sue S. January 24, 2013 at 06:16 PM
So right! Why are we concentrating on speed limit when the issue here is drunk driving? A drunk driver isn't going to pay attention to the speed limit. We need real consequences for DUI.
Sue S. January 24, 2013 at 06:21 PM
You would RATHER see DUI related crashes? That's insanity. Are you aware that drunk drivers hurt innocent people, not just themselves? Why on earth would anyone rather see a crash than a roadblock?

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