Lincoln Park

One Dead, One Critical After Car Crashes onto Frozen Lagoon in Lincoln Park

The crash happened near a portion of Lake Shore Drive with no guard rail

A car carrying two people veered off Lake Shore Drive and crashed on top of a frozen pond near Lincoln Park Zoo early Monday, leaving one dead and one critically injured.

The crash happened at about 1:45 a.m. as a black sedan traveling south in the 2200 block of Lake Shore Drive left the road and rolled onto a pond that was frozen rock-solid, police said.

The mangled vehicle never submerged and rolled over several times before it finally rested on its roof. Bumpers and other car parts littered the frozen pond as rescue workers secured the vehicle and removed the two people trapped inside.

Firefighters said they had to use electric saws to perform the rescue.

A woman was pulled from the vehicle, but later died of her injuries, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office. A man was taken to illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said. His age and condition were not immediately known, officials said.

Police said the accident is believed to have been alcohol-related and the 42-year-old driver was taken into custody.

The car crashed near a portion of Lake Shore Drive with no guard rail. A police official at the scene said the guard rail was likely missing due to a previous crash and never replaced.

Had the pond not been frozen, the car would have submerged at the deeper end of the pond, an official at the scene said.

"We checked that ice while we were out there, we were afraid that the car was heating up that ice," said Chief Ron Dornaker with the Chicago Fire Department. "We knew we had a very short period of time to work to get people out."

The police Major Accidents Investigation Unit was called to the scene.

The southbound lanes on Lake Shore Drive near Fullerton Avenue were temporarily closed, but all lanes are now open.

Friends and family of the victim, who they identified as Claudia Berugen, set up a fundraiser to help support her young daughter.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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