Berwyn Police Department

Suburban Police Officer Killed in I-55 Crash Near Plainfield

The officer was the passenger in a vehicle that struck the back of a box truck early Sunday morning

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An off-duty suburban police officer was killed in a crash near suburban Plainfield early Sunday morning.

According to Illinois State Police, Charles Schauer, 33, of Glen Ellyn was a passenger in a vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 55 near U.S. Route 30 at approximately 6:02 a.m. Sunday when the car crashed into a box truck that had been involved in an earlier crash.

Schauer, a police officer in suburban Berwyn, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the vehicle Schauer was a passenger in, identified as 35-year-old Erin Zilka, was charged with driving under the influence and was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

An off-duty Berwyn police officer was killed in a crash on Interstate 55, and now his colleagues and city officials are coping with his loss. NBC 5's Christian Farr has the story.

Police say 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, allegedly driven by Zilka, crashed into the back of the box truck.

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.

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