It appears a group of friends were drag-racing before a deadly and fiery explosion in the southwest suburbs over the weekend, according to authorities.
Two men died, Bart Lenz, 21, and Zachary Orel, 25, both of New Lenox. Orel was a firefighter paramedic with the Posen Fire Department.
Lenz and Orel were inside a 2002 Ford Mustang and their friends were inside a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer when the vehicles broke through a chain-linked fence crashing into a crude oil pipeline early Saturday morning. The vehicles were “likely driving side-by-side,” said Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas of the Will County Sheriff’s Department.
The three survivors admitted to police they were “racing one another” and “driving at a high rate of speed,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
The crash led to the shutdown of the pipeline owned by Enbridge, Inc. and has been tied to higher gas prices in North America, Bloomberg reported.
Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer predicted the pipeline would be back and running Thursday. The pipeline carries 318,000 gallons of oil daily.
One of the young men’s families believes the friends weren’t into the drag-racing scene.
“I don’t think any of them do that as a practice,” said Scott Lenz, the father of Bart Lenz. “I think it was just one of those spontaneous stupid things.”
The investigation continues.