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Police say crash spree caused by drunk, possibly drugged driving

Wheaton police are withholding the name of a Downers Grove woman who allegedly went on a car-wrecking spree on and near Interstates 290 and 355. Illinois State Police expect the woman to be charged drunk driving and several other offenses.

Witnesses reportedly tracked the woman's black Pathfinder SUV during the 45-minute joy ride that ended with a car crash into the living room of a Wheaton residence.

DuPage County law enforcement officials reported the driver was spotted during the afternoon driving westbound on Interstate 290. The SUV's driver apparently slammed into another vehicle during a sudden lane change near Thorndale Avenue. Witnesses said the damaged SUV exited the highway without stopping.

Motorists reported seeing the SUV back on the interstate, headed eastbound, where state police suspect the woman's erratic driving caused another vehicle to overturn. Several witnesses said the SUV was "all over the road" as it later headed southbound along Interstate 355.

The accused woman allegedly caused an additional hit-and-run accident after she exited off the Interstate that left the vehicle occupant injured. Still, the Pathfinder kept going and sped along Naperville Road. The SUV turned onto Farnham Road in Wheaton, where the vehicle struck a tree and slammed into a Huntleigh Court home.

The Pathfinder's driver was thrown from the vehicle. Her 27-year-old passenger, identified as a man from Woodridge, was trapped until emergency personnel could remove him. Both vehicle occupants were hurt in the house crash, but neither suffered life-threatening injuries.

Fire crews and paramedics reported that the driver and passenger were intoxicated. The injured pair allegedly tried to fight with rescuers before being taken to Central DuPage Hospital. Police said needle marks on the crash victims' arms imply that the two may be drug abusers. Open alcohol containers were also found in the SUV.

To date, formal charges have not been made. State police are certain DUI is one of several charges pending. No public announcement was made about whether the Downers Grove woman or her Woodridge companion is being detained.

Source: Daily Herald, "State Police: Driver to be charged with DUI in Wheaton house crash," Christopher Placek, Jan. 12, 2012

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