An investigation concluded that the police officers involved in an October pursuit that led to a fatal crash were not responsible for it, officials said.
Theopolis Owens, 28, of Chicago and Kayla Crews, 18, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, both died of blunt force injuries caused by a vehicle crash on October 20, according to Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper.
The pursuit began in Genoa City, Wisconsin when police spotted a 1994 Toyota Camry, driven by Owens, traveling at a high rate of speed, according to the Fox Lake Police Department. The chase crossed the Illinois state line into Spring Grove.
The Toyota was traveling eastbound on Route 173 west of Converse Road in Fox Lake when it struck a guardrail, went off the roadway and hit several trees on the north side of the road, police said.
The car burst into flames and police officers and a passing motorist attempted to extinguish the fire and remove the occupants from the car.
Owens and Crews, along with a third person, identified as Mya Janczak, 18, of Waukegan, were transported by ambulances to area hospitals, police said.
Owens was pronounced dead at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital and Crews, who was the front seat passenger, was pronounced dead at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Janczak, who was a passenger in the back seat, suffered serious injuries.
An investigation by the Major Crash Assistance Team showed that the officers involved never made physical contact with the fleeing Toyota.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and determined that the crash was solely caused by the actions of Owens.
“Mr. Owens had the opportunity at all times prior to the collision to simply stop fleeing. The Genoa City Officer did not cause or contribute to cause the crash and was more than 600 feet behind the Toyota when Mr. Owen lost control of the vehicle and subsequently crashed,” the Fox Lake Police Department said in a statement Thursday.
Read the full 34-page report completed by the Major Crash Assistance Team by clicking here.