CHICAGO - An Evergreen Park special education teacher was shot and killed Tuesday night on the Dan Ryan Expressway, according to Illinois State Police.
Denise M. Huguelet, 67, was shot at 10:07 p.m. near 63rd Street in the southbound lanes of Interstate 94, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office and state police.
Huguelet, of Orland Park, was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. She died from a gunshot wound to her back, according to autopsy results released Wednesday.
Illinois State Police responded to the shots fired and a police helicopter found a car speeding southbound on I-94 near 69th Street.
Troopers pursued the car and two suspects were taken into custody. Police also recovered a handgun.
The southbound lanes of I-94 were closed from around 11 p.m. until 2:30 a.m.
Huguelet worked for 24 years as a special education teacher at Central Middle School, according to a Facebook post from Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124.
Denise Huguelet, a teacher in Evergreen Park, was fatally shot Tuesday on the South Side of Chicago. | Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124/Facebook
"Her passion for students and her dedication to the community showed in all aspects of her work," the school district said in the statement.
"Mrs. Huguelet’s nature with kids was kind, yet firm, to ensure that students were taught the independent skills they needed to be successful in their futures. She cared deeply about the academic needs of students, and the social and emotional well-being of every students’ needs," the post reads.
"An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us."
The White Sox released the following statement on the fatal expressway shooting:
"Our hearts are broken for the family of Denise Huguelet. She dedicated her career to making a difference in the lives of so many young students. The entire White Sox organization is deeply pained by the news of her passing and the loss of her warm, caring spirit that her friends, family and community remember well about Denise."
Shootings on Chicago area expressways have more than tripled over the last three years.
There have been 156 shootings on expressways so far this year, outpacing the 128 shootings seen in all of 2020, according to state police figures. There were 52 shootings in all of 2019.
The Dan Ryan Expressway has seen the largest share of shootings. Fifty shootings this year were reported on the Dan Ryan (I-90/94), according to state police. The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) has the second highest number of shootings at 34, followed by the Bishop Ford (I-94) with 25 shootings.
The Kennedy Expressway has had five shootings this year, while the Edens has had three.
In February, Illinois State Police were given $12.5 million to install high-definition surveillance cameras to deter and solve expressway shootings.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.