A crash that ended in the deaths of two people Tuesday morning began when an unmarked squad car attempted to pull over an off-duty Chicago police officer, authorities said.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said undercover officers on the city's West Side tried to pull over a Jeep that matched the description of a vehicle used in an earlier crime. That Jeep, which was driven by the off-duty officer, turned out to be the wrong vehicle.
"It does not appear that responding officers knew that the driver of the vehicle was an off-duty officer," Johnson said.
The officer, who had just gotten off work, fled from the unmarked squad car, though authorities said it remained unclear why.
"We aren’t able to interview that officer so we don’t know," Johnson said, noting that the police car did not have a siren but at one point did turn on its lights.
Shortly after 1 a.m. the off-duty officer collided with another vehicle being driven by a woman in the 4400 block of West Roosevelt.
“From the physical scene, it appears the cars collided at a high rate of speed,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
Both the officer and the woman were killed in the crash, authorities said.
The officer, who worked in the 10th District, was transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where fellow police officers lined up to escort his body.
Johnson spoke to the families of both the officer and the woman and “offered the department’s deepest condolences,” police said.
"This is among the most difficult heartbreaking addresses I’ve had to make since becoming superintendent due to the unnecessary loss of life," an emotional Johnson said during a press release late Tuesday morning.
Family members identified the woman killed as Chiquita Adams.
"She didn't leave me, they took her, they took her," said Adams' mother Chereta Adams. "They took my baby from me. They killed her."
Adams, family said, worked in security and was looking forward to working at the Taste of Chicago this summer.
The Independent Police Review Authority said the accident is under investigation.
"We have many, many more questions than we do have answers," said IPRA Chief Sharon Fairley.
Security footage near the crash scene shows a Jeep speeding down Roosevelt with a police vehicle in pursuit.
Debris could be seen scattered across the street and down the block.
The area near Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue remained closed during the morning hours as an investigation continued.