The 17-year old-driver of a vehicle that crashed Saturday afternoon in Hickory Hills, resulting in the deaths of four teenagers, has been charged with reckless homicide and traffic citations, police said Monday.
According to Hickory Hills police, the driver, who is a minor and has not been named, was driving a 2008 Mercedes SUV at about 2:24 p.m. Saturday "at an extremely high rate of speed, in what we believe was an attempt to go airborne over the crest of the hill at 86th Avenue."
"After travelling through the intersection at 86th Avenue, the vehicle did go airborne, as described by a witness," police said in a statement. "The vehicle then struck a large tree on the north side of 89th Street and the vehicle split in half."
Six individuals, all from Justice, Illinois, were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash, according to police. Two occupants were pronounced dead at the scene, two passed away at the hospital, and two were released from the hospital after treatment, police said.
Multiple vigils were held Sunday. One of the vigils was held in Justice, where friends say the group liked to hang out. Another was held near the crash scene, with friends and loved ones gathering to reflect and to mourn after the four teens’ lives were cut short.
Two teens survived the crash, but four were killed, including Nathan Phillips, whose death was confirmed by his father Kenneth Roberts.
“Everything in me wants to just lay down,” Roberts said at Sunday’s vigil. “I just want to cry. If I do that, I’ll never get up, so I’ve got to stay strong for his brothers and sisters. They miss him dearly right now. When we broke the news, it was kind of devastating.
“They were great kids. All four of them,” he added.
Authorities have not yet identified the other three victims in the crash.
"The Hickory Hills Police Department extends our deepest condolences to the families involved," police said.