Police say a man driving an SUV northbound in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive crashed into two vehicles near Belmont, killing two people and trying up traffic on the North Side for hours.
The crash happened about 4 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive between Diversey Parkway and Belmont Avenue.
According to preliminary reports, the driver of a silver Chevrolet SUV, who is in his 30s, may have gotten onto Lake Shore Drive as early as the LaSalle Street exit at the south end of Lincoln Park, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.
As he was driving north in the southbound lanes, other drivers flashed their lights to alert him he was heading in the wrong direction, and some of those drivers had to swerve out of his way, Mirabelli said.
Near Belmont Avenue,the SUV collided with two vehicles — a black Jeep and a Toyota or Scion SUV, Mirabelli said. There were two men, ages 25 and 27, in the Jeep, both of whom were killed in the crash.
The female driver of the other vehicle was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was excepted to be treated and released, Mirabelli said. She was the only occupant of that vehicle.
The driver of the Chevrolet, who suffered a fractured hip, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where as of early Friday afternoon his condition was stable, Mirabelli said.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the two deaths but had no details on the identities of the men early Friday afternoon.
By 6 a.m. traffic was backed up for miles as investigators moved between the wrecks of metal and shattered plastic. The traffic delays lasted about five hours.
Lake Shore Drive traffic was diverted at Irving Park Road, then being let back onto the drive at Fullerton.
The CTA No. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and No. 147 Outer Drive Express southbound buses were rerouted Friday morning as a result, according to the CTA.
The closure and traffic backup lasted through the morning rush led to traffic congestion on other streets around the site of the crash. Police reopened Lake Shore Drive to traffic around the site of the crash about 9 a.m.
The police Major Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the crash.
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