Authorities have released the identities of four Buffalo Grove High School students, all between the ages of 16 and 18, who were killed in a high-speed crash in Wheeling.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified three of the four as Jesus Rodriguez, 16, of Wheeling; Richard De-Ita, 18, of Wheeling; and Kevin R. Hernandez-Teran, 17, of Wheeling.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office identified the fourth victim as Ricky Barcenas, 17, of Arlington Heights.
The Wheeling Police Department and Wheeling Fire Department responded around 10:19 p.m. Tuesday to Dundee Road and Schoenbeck Road in Wheeling for a report of a vehicle crash with injuries.
The crash involved three vehicles and multiple occupants were trapped in the vehicles, police said. Eight ambulances were called to the scene.
Firefighters extricated four victims and transported a total of seven victims to local hospitals.
Rodriguez, De-Ita, Hernandez-Teran and Barcenas were occupants of the “primary vehicle,” police said. All four died following the crash.
Township High School District 214 confirmed Wednesday morning that the four teenagers were Buffalo Grove High School students. A fifth student remains hospitalized.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these students during this time of tragedy. We also offer condolences to all Buffalo Grove students, families and staff members,” the school district said.
Speed and a disregarded traffic signal appear to be the primary factors involved in the crash, police said.
One of the vehicles involved struck an electrical pole and caused a power outage in the area.
The Northwest Suburban Major Case Assistance Team’s Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction unit along with Wheeling police crash investigators were on the scene recovering evidence and investigating.
Wheeling social service workers have also been involved and are working with the families “as they begin to process this terrible event,” police said.
The school district said they would be making counselors available as soon as possible to help the school community “deal with this tragic loss.”
Wheeling Police Chief James Dunne said he extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Wheeling Police Department at 847-459-2632.