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Chicago crash today: 2 dead, 16 injured in horrific Chatham pile-up near 87th, Cottage Grove; car at fault was stolen, police say

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Two people have died in a horrific wrong-way crash on Chicago’s South Side Wednesday evening, officials said.

Seven vehicles were involved in the crash near the intersection of 87th and Cottage Grove in the Chatham neighborhood.

A black Dodge Charger was traveling northbound in the southbound lane of Cottage Grove at a “very high rate of speed” around 5 p.m. before entering the intersection and striking seven cars, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said. The Charger then stopped in traffic, facing southbound, and immediately caught fire, killing the two occupants in the vehicle.

“This is a really bad crash,” Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford said. “I’ve seen many, many — and this is among the worst.”

Langford said that the Charger is believed to have set off a chain-reaction crash, according to witnesses on the scene.

Brown said 16 people, including nine children and seven adults, were in the other vehicles that were struck and have been taken to hospitals from the scene. At least four of those people are critically injured, and one was described as “very critical.”

The most-seriously injured victim was in the vehicle that flipped onto its roof.

The Dodge Charger was reported stolen out of Markham earlier in the day Wednesday, according to Brown. A “long-rifle type of firearm” was also discovered int he Charger, Brown added.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot stopped at the scene, urging that people slow down.

“This is something that we can control. Just take your foot off the gas and obey the local speed limits,” the mayor said.

Last year, there were approximately 150 traffic-related fatalities in Chicago, Lightfoot said, adding that the city already has 100 so far this year.

“A lot of those are related to speed,” Lightfoot said. “When you’re going at that high-rate of speed, anyone that you hit –whether it’s a car or a pedestrian — you significantly dimish their ability to survive,”

The intersection is expected to be closed for several hours. Drivers are being urged to avoid the area.

The Chicago Police Department’s Major Accidents division is on the scene investigating the cause of the crash.

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