3 dead in Glenview garbage truck crash

Three people died this afternoon when a garbage truck hit and crushed a car in Glenview, causing a fire that destroyed the car and scorched the truck’s cab, authorities said.

The garbage truck was traveling north on Harlem Avenue and ran over a car that was headed east on Harrison Street about 12:40 p.m., police said.  Both vehicles caught fire, and video from the scene shows the car and the cab of the truck engulfed in flames before the fire was put out by Glenview firefighters.

Three people were dead in the vehicle following the crash, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Causes of death may be determined following autopsies Wednesday.

The driver of the garbage truck was not injured, but a woman in the neighborhood who tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived was taken to the hospital for treatment, fire officials said.

Authorities have not issued charges or traffic citations as a result of the incident, according to police.

Michelle Schmalz, who lives near the accident site, tried to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher, according to her husband, Frank Schmalz. Overcome with emotion but not physically injured, she was taken to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for treatment.

She has since returned home and is resting, her husband said.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families,” Frank Schmalz said.

Kate Meszaros, who has lived in the area for 12 years, was returning from picking her children up from school when she heard a loud crash.

“I saw this car flipping over, and a ‘boom,’” she said.

She said witnesses could nothing to help because of the fire and the way the car was crushed beneath the truck. Meszaros returned later to put a bouquet of flowers at the site.

“It’s crazy to think that something like this would happen,” said Grace Mateian, who has lived in the neighborhood for about 30 years. “I drive here all the time.”

Check back for updates.

Tribune reporters Deanese Williams-Harris and Liam Ford and WGN-TV contributed

chicagobreaking@tribune.com | Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

 

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