When a Chicago woman was found wandering drunk along a highway entrance ramp near Lyons last month, she told police nothing about a one-vehicle SUV crash several hours before that had killed two other women, authorities said today.
Now Lisa Elner, 44, of the 5100 block of South Nordica Avenue, has been ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail Monday in the crash that killed Michelle Miranda, 37, of Berwyn, and Sandra Frankum, 36, of Bolingbrook on Jan. 26, according to court records and authorities. The two were killed when the SUV they were in fell at least 50 feet from Harlem Avenue in Lyons to Canal Bank Drive in Summit, police said.
Elner faces charges of failure to report an accident involving death, aggravated driving under the influence involving death, possession of cocaine, and other traffic charges, according to a police news release. Elner arranged to be released on bond at her court hearing and was released from custody soon after, Cook County sheriff's spokesman Frank Bilecki said.
On Jan. 26, Elner was found by Illinois State troopers and Lyons Police about 7 a.m., walking near the entrance ramp to southbound Interstate 55 at Harlem Avenue, said Lyons Police Commander Brian Kuratko, spokesman for the department.
“She was freezing and allegedly intoxicated,” Kuratko said in an email.
Elner, apparently seriously injured in the crash, was taken for treatment to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, and told a state trooper that she was walking home from a bar in Berwyn, but said nothing about being involved in a crash, Kuratko said.
The overturned SUV was discovered about five hours after she was found, by a trucker driving along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Lyons police responding to the scene found the bodies of the two women. The Cook County medical examiner's office determined they both died from injuries suffered in the accident.
Police were able to piece together that the SUV was headed south on Harlem Avenue, approaching the I-55 ramp about 3 a.m. when it lost control, jumped a curb and crashed through a barrier before plunging onto the road below. There appears to have been no witnesses to the crash, and no one called 911 after it happened, Kuratko said.
Police deduced that Elner might have been involved in the crash, and contacted her Jan. 26 regarding the investigation. Police are still awaiting full toxicology reports on Elner and the victims.
On Friday, she surrendered to police, and charges were approved Sunday by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, Kuratko said.
Elner appeared before Cook County Bridgeview Branch Judge Joan Margaret O’Brien on Monday, according to court records. She was ordered to only be released on a 10 percent bond.
Elner is next scheduled to appear in court March 5, according to court records.
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