1 Dead, Several Injured in Crash During Funeral Procession

Buick clipped a beverage truck while trying to keep up with procession, witnesses said

One person was killed Tuesday and several others injured after three cars crashed during a funeral procession.

Witnesses said the 1 p.m. crash near West 109th Street and South Vincennes Avenue happened when a Buick clipped a beverage truck and went into oncoming traffic while following the procession to a nearby cemetery.

Another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction struck the Buick, sending it into a fence where it came to rest.

"It was so tragic because the people who were trapped in the car were in there like 30 to 45 minutes before [first responders] could get them out," said Pat Collier, who witnessed the crash from a nearby car wash. "Imagine the pain and the suffering. You're there. You're awake and they're trying to cut you out."

By the time fire crews got to the wreck, two children -- clearly injured -- were already out of the vehicle, witnesses said.

One child was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in serious to critical condition; one adult was taken to Christ Hospital in serious to critical condition; and two people were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious to critical condition. Two adults were taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in fair to serious condition; and one was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair to serious condition. One person refused medical attention.

The driver of the Buick was later pronounced dead.

Family members who gathered at the hospitals said the funeral was for a family member who was killed in a homicide last week.

Funeral director Nakia Wallace Harrison said crashes during funeral processions aren't uncommon, and said adhering to guidelines is enforceable.

"[Drivers] can be ticketed for breaking up a procession," she said. "There's an ordinance that we have to follow in a procession where we need to stay to the right and we need to go a certain mile per hour."

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