Local

Cab hits poles, bursts into flames; pedestrian killed

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A pedestrian was killed early Tuesday morning when a taxi cab crashed near the intersection of Ogden, Milwaukee and Chicago avenues on the city's Near North Side.

The crash happened around 6 a.m.

The cab struck a pole at Chicago and Milwaukee, flipped over, and burst into flames. A pedestrian, 30-year-old Eric Kerestes, was struck and killed.

Kerestes lived just a couple blocks away.

A passerby was able to rescue the passenger in the taxi. The cabbie was also injured.

All signs point to a very violent collision: Debris from the crash was scattered for several dozen yards. A light pole was knocked down inside a CVS parking lot and a bus stop bench was destroyed.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but a fire official at the scene says the cab may have been going as fast as 100 mph and his passenger warned the driver to slow down moments before the collision.

Police say the cab was heading southeast on Milwaukee Avenue when it hit a light pole, flipped over several times, and then struck a man who was at a bus stop.

Police say Kerestes was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kerestes, who was married, was studying for an MBA and working as an engineer at a construction company.

The cab driver and a passenger were both taken to hospitals in serious to critical condition.

Some of the witnesses told ABC7 they ran to help.

"The passenger got out of the car. The car was on fire, so a couple of us helped the guy, and helped the cabbie out," said witness Dan Faraci. "The fire department was here within a couple minutes."

"I think this is tragic," said witness Yamile Cruz. "I don't think he deserves to die that way, and I think that we do have problems always with cabs, the way they drive around here, they're flying."

Crews remained on the scene to clean up and collect evidence for hours after the crash.

Police say the cab driver and his passenger were taken to hospitals, and both are expected to survive.

City officials told ABC7 Tuesday night that the cab driver has been licensed since 1987 and has no red flags when it comes to complaints or moving violations.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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