A 39-year-old man has died after he was ejected from his van during a crash that police say was caused by him trying to pass another vehicle, leaving a woman seriously injured near McHenry.
A preliminary investigation showed Nathan Russell, 39, of Jacksonville, Oregon, died as a result of blunt force injuries from a vehicle crash, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Island Lake Police Department and McHenry Township Fire Protection District responded around 7:19 a.m. Thursday to the 1500 block of South River Road in unincorporated McHenry.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find a two-vehicle crash that left both drivers injured.
A preliminary investigation shows that a 1996 Ford Club Wagon van was traveling northbound on River Road and attempted to pass a vehicle in a marked no-passing zone, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Ford, driven by Russell, lost control and collided with a southbound 2010 Honda Element SUV in the southbound lane of River Road.
The vehicles came to rest in front of the entrance to Moraine Hills State Park. Russell was ejected from his vehicle.
Sheriff’s officials said Russell, who has family ties to the Island Lake area, was not wearing a seatbelt and the airbags in his vehicle did not deploy.
The driver of the Honda, a 53-year-old McHenry woman, was trapped in her vehicle and had to be extricated.
She was wearing her seatbelt and her airbags deployed. Fire crews reported River Road was a sheet of ice when they responded to the scene.
Russell and the woman were transported to Northwestern Medicine Hospital in McHenry, sheriff’s officials said.
Russell was then flown by a LifeNet helicopter to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville with life-threatening injuries.
He died from his injuries at the hospital on Sunday morning, Banek said.
The driver of the Honda was listed in the hospital in serious but stable condition.
Volo Antique Malls said in a statement that they are hosting a tribute outside of their barn where Russell worked.
The business asked people to bring flowers and place them on their outside fence in remembrance of the man.
“This is his awesome talented self with his dog Boon who is safe with his mom. You can’t go back Nathan but you touched so many,” the business said while sharing a video of Russell, who was singing and playing the guitar.
The crash investigation is ongoing by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Traffic Crash Investigation Unit.