SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - The Independent Police Review Authority has assumed the lead role in the investigation of a crash that claimed the lives of an off-duty Chicago Police officer and an “innocent” woman on the West Side early Tuesday.
On-duty officers in an unmarked police vehicle saw the off-duty officer’s personal car near Roosevelt and Independence shortly before 1 a.m. The vehicle matched the description of a vehicle used in an earlier carjacking, according to police officials.
It was not the same vehicle, police said later.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the officer had finished his shift 10 minutes earlier and was driving to his girlfriend’s home at the time of the crash.
After a short pursuit, the on-duty officers turned off their vehicle’s lights and left “a great distance” between their vehicle and that of the off-duty officer.
The off-duty officer — who worked in the Ogden District for four years — drove through the intersection of Roosevelt and Kostner at “a high rate of speed” and collided with a vehicle driven by a woman, killing them both, according to Supt. Eddie Johnson.
The woman, 27-year-old Chequita Adams, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she died at 1:27 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy did not rule on her cause and manner of death, with results pending further investigation. She lived in the West Side North Lawndale neighborhood.
The officer’s name was not released Wednesday afternoon. An autopsy Tuesday did not rule on his cause and manner of death pending the police investigation, according to the medical examiner’s office.
“This is among the most difficult, heartbreaking addresses I’ve had to make since becoming superintendent due to the unnecessary loss of life,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday.
Johnson said that, since the crash involved an officer, he asked Sharon Fairley and IPRA to take the lead in the investigation “in the name of impartiality and public integrity.”
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Fairley said.
Johnson said it was not known if the officers in pursuit knew the driver was an off-duty officer. The unmarked police vehicle was not equipped with sirens or dashcam, though lights were activated at some point during the pursuit.
A visibly disheartened Johnson said, “I really want to say how sorry we are that this happened because it really was an unnecessary loss of life. It’s just a tragedy.”
Grief counselors were assigned to the Ogden District on Tuesday to aid grieving officers, Johnson said.