ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed and another person was injured after a high-speed crash in Arlington Heights.
Emergency crews responded around 1 a.m. Monday to 602 S. Reuter for reports of a crash.
According to police, a Black Toyota 4Runner was traveling at a high-speed on Northbound Wilke Rd. from Algonquin Rd. As the vehicle reached the area of Wilke Rd. and W. Kirchoff Rd., it left the roadway and struck a utility pole, a long line of trees and multiple fences, and continued across Kirchoff Rd., before landing in the backyard of 602 S. Reuter.
First responders found two victims outside the vehicle.
“If this tree was not here, it would have ended up right here. It would have been in my master bedroom, basically in the bed with my husband and I,” said homeowner Stephanie Rogers.
Two days ago, Rogers’ kids sat in the backyard for a picnic. Monday morning, a crumpled-up Toyota 4Runner came to rest in the very same spot.
“Our entire house just shook,” Rogers said. “I just ripped off my sheets and I was like ‘somebody hit our house.'”
The 29-year-old off-duty officer from Chicago was transported to Lutheran General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He has been identified as Jose L. Castro.
“He was going 107 miles per hour on a 35 miles per hour road,” Rogers said.
A 33-year-old passenger was transported and released from Northwest Community Hospital.
Before the crash, an on-duty Rolling Meadows officer saw the 4Runner speeding down Algonquin Road, just under two miles from the scene of the crash. Officials say the officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the off-duty Chicago officer fled and crossed into Arlington Heights jurisdiction, so the Rolling Meadows officer did not pursue the vehicle.
“As far as we know, this happened in an off-duty capacity, and we don’t know fully the circumstances, but our condolences go out to the family,” said Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown.
No other people were injured in the crash.
“The driver was in our lawn, and the passenger was in our lawn on the other side of our patio,” Rogers said. “It’s terrible. It’s terrible.”
This incident is ongoing and the investigation remains active. Police say they suspect the driver was intoxicated.
According to neighbors, it’s the third time in a year a car has crashed into someone’s house or backyard. As a result, many say they’ve stopped their kids from playing outside.
“The problem is just that these people are drunk and there’s nothing to stop them,” Rogers said. “We need a wall.”