LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — An Illinois man died on Monday after he rear-ended a semi on I-80/94 westbound lanes at the 12.8 mile marker, according to Indiana State Police.
The crash occurred at 1:45 p.m. and police say it happened minutes after a trooper had performed a traffic stop on the same vehicle, a 2012 Kia Optima, just east of the Lake Station exit ramp. The vehicle fled the scene of the traffic stop as the trooper was walking up to speak with the driver. The trooper returned to his police car and was going to initiate a pursuit. However, the trooper immediately turned off his lights and pulled back over to the side of the interstate and chose not to chase the vehicle due to the high traffic volume.
About four minutes later, the ISP Regional Dispatch Center Lowell Post received 911 calls of a serious crash on I-80/94 at the 12.8 mile-marker. Callers reported a Kia Optima had rear-ended a semi while traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver of the Kia was partially ejected from the vehicle and had sustained life-threatening injuries. First responders and troopers arrived at the scene and rendered first aid to the driver. A medical transport helicopter was called to transport the patient to a trauma hospital in Illinois.
An investigation led to the discovery of two large duffle bags that contained marijuana in the trunk of the Kia. The vehicle that crashed was the same Kia that the trooper had initially pulled over near the Lake Station exit. The interstate lanes were closed for an extended period for crash investigation and vehicle removal.
The driver of the Kia, 20-year-old Bryan I. Flores, from Round Lake, IL, died while being treated at the hospital.
The driver of the semi that was rear-ended was not injured.