Edward Carthans, 81, was fleeing another crash when he drove his truck onto oncoming cars at 95th and Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn, police said. Carthans and two nuns were killed in the 11-vehicle crash.
Sister Jean Stickney, 86, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, 48, both of Little Company of Mary Sisters, were killed in the crash just before 4:30pm Sunday. They and Carthans died at the scene.
A witness told police Carthans was slumped at the wheel of his Ford F-150 at a red light at the intersection of 95th Street and Western Avenue on Sunday afternoon. When the witness offered to park the vehicle, Carthans refused and said he was OK to drive.
Carthans drove off and struck three vehicles at 95th Street and Keeler, police said. No one was seriously injured, and Carthans fled the scene of the crash at a high speed, officials said.
Witnesses said Carthans was driving 80 to 100 mph on 95th Street when he sped through a red light at Cicero Avenue and veered into the eastbound lanes. He struck several vehicles head-on, officials said.
Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets described the crash as the "most violent, bizarre" accident he and his veteran first responders have seen in more than 30 years on the job.
"It was such a violent crash. And it was just unbelievable to arrive to see so so many cars, so many people needing aid," he said.
Eleven vehicles were involved in the crash, and almost two dozen people were injured.
Authorities are waiting on toxicology reports to determine if alcohol was a factor or if Carthans had a medical condition in the deadly crash.