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Three teens dead, one injured, in gruesome Prospect Heights crash

Updated: June 21, 2011 9:16AM

Three teens were killed and a fourth was injured when the stolen car they were in slammed into a tree 75 yards from the Prospect Heights police station early Saturday.

“The car jumped off the curb, struck a tree and split in two,” Prospect Heights police Cmdr. Eric Lundt said. “The car was, for all intents and purposes, disintegrated.”

Two females and a male between the ages of 14 and 19 were dead on the scene, he said.

Autopsies Sunday determined all three died of multiple injures, from the car hitting a fixed object, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Their deaths were ruled accidents.

The boy was identified as 16-year-old Freddy Najera of the 1100 block of North Boxwood Drive in Mount Prospect, but the two teenage girls remained unidentified Sunday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Police said the dead have been tentatively identified as teens who lived in the “immediate area,” though not from Prospect Heights, Lundt said.

A fourth person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Lundt said he did not know how the fourth teen was able to survive the collision.

“God was there [for the survivor]”, he said.

The wreck happened in the 100 block of Camp McDonald Road in an residential neighborhood about 75 yards from the Prospect Heights police station, which is not staffed overnight.

“It was right next door to us,” Lundt said.

When calls came in from neighbors in the area, police rushed to the scene and found a gruesome sight.

A young woman driving the car had been decapitated and the three others were ejected from the 2002 Honda Accord, the commander said. The car involved had been stolen, Lundt said.

About 7 or 8 a.m. the man who owns the car “woke up” and called police to say his car had been stolen from Mount Prospect, Lundt said.

Police do not know who stole the car, and no one has been arrested for the theft.

Investigators have also determined the car was traveling at a high speed when the young woman driving it lost control, the commander said.

The car was initially on Elmhurst Road and turned onto eastbound Camp McDonald when it crashed for an unknown reason. Lundt said police were canvassing the area to find anyone who may have heard or seen the crash.

It was not known if they were wearing seat belts or just how fast the car was traveling on the 35-mph-speed-limit roadway, which was dry and not under construction at the time.

The commander said it was not known where the teens were going or what their relationship was, besides being acquaintances. Lundt said Prospect Heights police has never had any contact with the four teens.

Toxicology tests will be performed at the medical examiner’s office and should determine if drugs or alcohol were involved.

The wreck is being investigated by the Mount Prospect Accident Reconstruction unit and Prospect Heights police.

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