2 Dead in Fiery New Lenox Accident
Two men died and three more were injured during an early morning car accident in New Lenox Township.
Article updated at 10:30 a.m. March 4
Two men died and three more were injured in a fiery car accident early Saturday morning in New Lenox Township.
At about 2 a.m. Saturday, the New Lenox Fire District and Will County Sheriff's Department responded to the explosion of an oil pipeline near Moni Drive and South Center Avenue, which is in an industrial area in the southeast part of New Lenox.
Fire District spokeswoman Erika Leader said two cars drove through a fence and hit the oil pipeline, causing a fatal explosion.
"I don't think they realized the road ended," Leader said. "They went right through the fence and right through the pipeline."
The two men who died were in a Ford Mustang, and their car was trapped under the pipeline. Leader said firefighters had to stand watch until 9 p.m. Saturday to make sure another explosion didn't occur.
"They weren't able to move the car out because the pipeline was still leaking," she said. "If it caused another spark there would be another explosion."
According to the Will County Coroner's office, the bodies could not be immediately identified because of the damage caused by the fire. One man in the Mustang has been identified by those familiar with the situation as Zachary Orel, 25, who was a Posen firefighter and also did clinical work with the New Lenox Fire District.
Police reports said the other three men escaped their TrailBlazer and jumped over the fence. Leader said all three were taken to Silver Cross Hospital. She said one man refused treatment and was released while the other two were critically injured and airlifted to another hospital to be treated for burns.
All five men were New Lenox residents in their 20s. According to initial police reports from the Will County Sheriff's Department, there was no indication as to why the men were driving on that road late at night or whether alcohol was involved. The coroner's office is conducting toxicology exams.
If you knew any of the victims and would like to share memories, please contact editor Michael Sewall at 708-203-4925 or email@example.com Stay tuned to Patch for updates and more information.