Written by Cristel Mohrman.
Drugs and alcohol may have played a role in the single-car crash that claimed the life of the driver and injured two others early Thursday morning in Lake Forest, police said.
Lance A. Nazario, 20, had a blood-alcohol content of at least .08 and appeared to have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his system, according to preliminary tests by the Lake County coroner that were shared by Lake Forest Deputy Police Chief Karl Walldorf. Investigators also found cannabis inside the passenger compartment of the car, Walldorf said.
He said it appeared that Nazario, who was driving the vehicle, was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
Nazario’s death was caused by blunt force trauma, predominantly to his head and chest, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd told Patch. Rudd initially told Patch that Nazario was from Gurnee, but police report that he was a resident of Zion.
The front-seat passenger, a 24-year-old man from Waukegan, was transported to Condell Hospital with serious injuries. He remained there Friday morning, Walldorf said. It appeared that he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, Walldorf said.
The rear passenger, a 24-year-old man also from Waukegan, was transported to Lake Forest Hospital. He was treated and released Thursday morning. Walldorf said it appeared that he was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and suffered only minor injuries.
A preliminary examination of the crash scene indicated the vehicle, a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix, was traveling over the posted speed limit of 45 mph at the time of the incident, police said. Police said they believe the car struck the center median on Route 41 before driving to the right and off the road near Westleigh Road. This occurred in the same location where the road turns sharply left, and then right again to curve underneath a railroad viaduct.
Police said the vehicle struck trees and rolled over.
Walldorf said police believe the vehicle was the same one that a Highland Park police officer attempted to stop on Route 41 in that city’s jurisdiction. “…it would not pull over, and the officer stopped trying somewhere south of our city limits,” Walldorf said.
Investigators hope to be able to free the event data recorder from the car and download the information it contains. Police said they will release additional information after data from the recorder has been extracted and analyzed by investigators.