Authorities say a suburban police officer was charged with driving under the influence in connection with a crash on Interstate 55 early Sunday that killed an officer from another suburban police department.
Erin Zilka, 35, was charged with misdemeanor DUI in connection with the crash that took place at around 6:02 a.m. on I-55 at U.S. Route 30 near Plainfield, according to police.
Zilka was driving a Dodge Durango in which 33-year-old Charles Schauer, of Glen Ellyn, was a passenger, according to police, who said the vehicle was headed southbound when it crashed into a box truck.
Police said that the box truck was involved in an earlier crash with a pickup truck near the scene, and came to rest in the right two lanes of traffic. A short time after the initial crash, the Dodge Durango then crashed into the back of the truck.
Schauer, a police officer in suburban Berwyn, was pronounced dead at the scene. Zilka was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. She is an officer with the Joliet Police Department, according to Will County State’s Attorney Kathy Hoffmeyer.
In a statement, the Berwyn Police Department said that Schauer was a 10-year veteran of the force, and described him as a “well-respected” member of the department.
“It is with great sadness that I share that we lost a member of the Berwyn Police Department,” Mayor Robert J. Lovero said. “Please keep Officer Schauer’s family and friends, as well as all Berwyn police officers, in your thoughts and prayers during this time of grief.”
An investigation by the Illinois State Police remains ongoing.