Distracted driving is being blamed for what police are calling a "tragic incident" Sunday night in Minooka that claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl and left her classmate in serious condition, police said.
Elizabeth Daniels, 15, of
Daniels was a passenger in the vehicle that was hit by another vehicle at U.S. Route 6 and McLinden Road in Minooka, according to the coroner's office. An examination is scheduled at a later date, according to the coroner's office.
Daniels, a Minooka High School student, was a back seat passenger in an Infiniti
At 7:56 p.m. the Infiniti was northbound on McLinden Road and its driver disobeyed a stop sign at Route 6, said Meyer. A Honda Civic that was eastbound on Route 6 T-boned the driver's side of the Infiniti, which had two other 15-year-old girls as passengers, the chief said.
The teen seated in the back with Daniels suffered head trauma and was airlifted to
O'Connell, the front seat passenger, and the driver of the Honda, a 26-year-old Minooka woman, were also taken to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet. The teens have been released as of Monday afternoon, Meyer said.
Alcohol and drug use have been ruled out, the chief said.
"Distraction was the main issue," said Meyer. "They were talking within the vehicle and not paying attention."
The Civic had the right-of-way, he said; there is no stop light or sign at that intersection on Rt. 6.
O'Connell, of Channahon, was cited with disobeying a stop sign, operating a vehicle without insurance, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, the chief said.
"It was a tragic incident," Meyer said. "We just need to remind these young drivers that they are responsible and they have to pay attention at all times."
The teen seriously hurt was Daniels' classmate at Minooka High School, and O'Connell and the girl riding in front attend Joliet West High School, said the chief.