expressway shootings

Expressway Shooting of Retired Suburban Teacher Leaves Community In Mourning

A beloved teacher was caught in the crossfire while driving on the Dan Ryan expressway.

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More than 150 shootings have taken place on expressways in the Chicago/Cook County region in 2021, according to Illinois State Police, and one of the latest attacks took the life of a beloved special education teacher from suburban Orland Park.

Denise Huguelet, 67, was shot in the chest while in a car driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 63rd street on Tuesday night. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Illinois State Police says a bullet also grazed a second person in the vehicle. That person survived.

A state trooper, who was in the area, heard the gunfire. Not long after, a police helicopter spotted the suspects' vehicle, and a brief pursuit led to two suspects being taken into custody.

ISP says a gun was recovered but further details were unavailable Wednesday night.

Huguelet retired from Evergreen Park School District 124 in 2015 after 24 years in the district. She was a special education teacher at Central Middle School, according to a statement.

The statement, posted on Facebook, called Ms. Huguelet “pure, honest, fair and kind.”

22-year-old former student Walter Melancon, says he hugged his beloved teacher just two weeks ago after running into her at the grocery store.

“We’re hurt. We don’t know how to take this,” said Melancon. “She kept telling me she was proud of me; continued to tell me to spread love.”

NBC 5 Investigates has tracked the number of shootings on expressways in the Chicago area, recently discovering the Dan Ryan had more shooting incidents reported than any other highway in the region.

This has left drivers like Vicky Deshazier of Homewood feeling wary about traveling to the city.

“I know the different streets to take to avoid the expressways and sometimes I do because I just feel nervous about it,” said Deshazier.

ISP says further details about the ongoing investigation would be released at a later time.

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