Off-Duty Chicago Officer Killed After Suburban Chase

The driver of the van and a passenger were taken into custody but no charges were filed as of 5 a.m.

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    Chicago police officers escort the ambulance carrying the body of another officer who was killed in a crash. Other officers stood at attention outside the office of the Cook County Medical Examiner. (Published Friday, March 14, 2014)

    An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed early Friday when his vehicle was struck by a van being pursued by other officers.

    David Harris, 42, was driving a Lexus in the 8700 block of South Lafayette at about 1 a.m. when he was hit by a white van. The impact from the van pushed the Lexus into a light pole.

    Harris was still in his police uniform and was heading home to his wife and two children after work.

    Chicago police said Calumet Park officers were chasing the driver in the van on Interstate 94. The van exited at 87th Street and collided with the Harris' Lexus in what police Supt. Garry McCarthy called a "terrible tragedy."

    "He dedicated his life to protecting our residents and communities, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues," he said.

    In a statement, the Chicago Police Department noted his award winning career. 

    "Police Officer David Harris, killed in a traffic crash while off-duty last night, was a Chicago Police Officer for 10 and a half years. In that time he earned 87 Department Awards, including two Department Commendations, a Joint Operations Award, and a Unit Meritorious Performance Award."

    The driver of the van and a passenger were taken into custody but no charges were filed as of 5 a.m. It was not known what prompted the chase onto the Dan Ryan Expressway, and Calumet Park police declined to comment.

    "I just want to know what was so serious that you had to drive that fast and, I mean, totally just lose control of the wheel and kill another police officer," said Leah Gomillia, a witness to the chase.

    The Chicago police Major Accidents Investigations Unit was investigating the crash.