NOTE: Links to 911 calls are included at the end of this article.
Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — Illinois State Police are signaling another urgent warning to the motoring public to celebrate responsibly after a male driver was traveling the wrong way on the Edens Expressway for approximately 11 miles and 10 minutes.
The driver, Sergio Galez-Delira, 24 of Glenview, Ill., was driving a black 2001 Mitsubishi SUV at approximately 2:30 a.m., Thursday morning, Dec. 8, when he was observed driving the wrong way on I-94 northbound Elston, until he was stopped by Glencoe Police at Tower Road.
Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Joseph Stangl had no recollection of a motorist driving under the influence for this length of distance and time, and attributed the time and light traffic on the expressway for preventing a major fatal tragedy.
Numerous calls of a wrong-way driver on the northbound lanes of I-94 near Elston were received describing an SUV traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the Edens Expressway (see end of article for audio clips of calls released by the State Police Dec. 16). Illinois State Police dispatched several cars in an attempt to curb the vehicle.
“The driver managed to avoid striking any other vehicles, but this could have turned into a horrific tragedy based on one driver’s decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated,” said ISP Master Sgt. Joseph Stangl. “Several callers reported they were nearly sideswiped by other drivers, and they were fearful of how to gain control of their vehicles.”
Galez-Delira was arrested for DUI and charged with DUI, reckless driving, open alcohol, no insurance and improper lane usage.
Illinois State Police District Chicago received at least nine calls from callers reporting the harrowing experience. One of the callers called describing a driver traveling “a million miles an hour giving me goose pimples — he would have killed me.” Several callers provided explicit details of locations, which were very helpful to police and dispatch.
Numerous calls of a wrong-way driver on the northbound lanes of I-94 near Elston were received describing an SUV traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the Edens Expressway citing multiple locations along Peterson, Touhy, Lake Street, Dempster and Willow. One of the callers offered to follow the driver for police and asked the police “to hurry.”
Several callers reported they were nearly sideswiped by other drivers and they were fearful of how to gain control of their vehicles.
Illinois State Police Officials credit the motorists for calling, particularly during such unsafe conditions. Without their calls and exact location descriptions, it may have been more difficult for law enforcement to locate the driver, and could have resulted in multiple tragedies.
Click on the following links to listen to 911 calls: