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Police blame street sweeper for 3 deaths in Orland Park

Investigators are focused on the possibility of driver negligence in a recent, fatal commercial vehicle accident involving a street sweeper. Orland Park police have charged the driver of a Midwest Maintenance Systems street-cleaning vehicle with failing to stop a red light.

The street cleaning machine apparently rammed into a car at an Orland Park intersection and killed three of four members of a Tinley Park family. The crash happened on a Sunday night around 8:30 p.m.

Police are withholding the identity of the street sweeper operator as they continue to investigate the fatal accident on LaGrange Road at 171st Street. Investigators are waiting for test results from the state police crime lab to determine possible driver alcohol use or other drug abuse.

An accident witness was driving a pickup truck stopped at 171st Street. The truck was allegedly the second vehicle hit by the street sweeper, as the driver of the commercial cleaner plowed through the intersection unmindful of the traffic signal change. The driver of the pickup truck driver apparently suffered no injuries as a result of the second collision.

The street sweeper reportedly was moving northbound on LaGrange Road when it struck a Toyota Camry. The car was waiting to turn across the roadway from southbound LaGrange Road. Observers said the Toyota Camry driver, the only victim in the car to survive the crash, attempted to make a left turn onto 171st Street when the car was hit.

A 62-year-old Tinley Park man, his 49-year-old wife and the couple's 15-year-old daughter were pronounced dead at the accident scene. The Toyota driver, who was not reported injured, was the daughter and sister of the stricken family members.

Witnesses told police there was no question that the traffic light had changed to red for northbound traffic on LaGrange Road. Observers said the driver of the street sweeper "clearly" ignored the light. Orland Park police are sifting through evidence that will tell them why. Authorities did not indicate whether other charges are pending against the driver of the street sweeper.

Source: suntimes.com, "Cops: Street sweeper in fatal Orland crash cited for running red light," Steve Metsch, April 17, 2012

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