Updated: August 14, 2011 7:37PM
Two drivers — who were reportedly arguing — got out of their vehicles to fight when they were struck by another car in Joliet Friday night.
John M. Donahue, 63, of Joliet, was killed, and Aaron Wood, 25, of Plainfield, was severely injured.
“This appears to be a road rage incident between the drivers that escalated before coming to a sudden and tragic end,” police Chief Mike Trafton said.
The confrontation allegedly began around 9:20 p.m. when both men were driving south on Essington Road.
Wood was driving a red Chevrolet S-10 pickup behind a maroon Jeep driven by Donahue. One witness told police Donahue slammed on his brakes because Wood was following too closely.
“Both appeared to get…road rage that lead to Wood cutting off Donahue north of Caton Farm Road, forcing him to stop in the inside lane,” Trafton said.
Wood reportedly got out and struck the Jeep with his hands and feet, before Donahue got out and the verbal argument turned into a fist fight that put both men into oncoming traffic.
“(Witnesses have) different versions as to who threw the first punch,” Trafton noted.
“Because of the way the vehicles were stopped and their headlights were on, the driver of a northbound silver Nissan was unable to see either of them and struck them,” Trafton said.
Both men were taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center where Donahue was pronounced dead at 11:41 p.m. Wood suffered “severe injuries to his legs and pelvis” and will be hospitalized for several days, but is expected to survive, according to reports.
The Nissan driver, a 56-year-old Rolling Meadows man, was not injured. He remained at the scene and was interviewed by police.
“The investigation is ongoing, but it does not appear he was at fault or will be ticketed,” Trafton said.
The Will County State’s Attorney’s office will review the police report on the incident Monday.
An autopsy performed Saturday by the Will County Coroner’s office showed Donahue died as the result of multiple injuries from being struck by an automobile.