Police officers pursuing suspects fleeing a home invasion were involved in a traffic collision at a South Side intersection Wednesday morning that killed a woman driving to work, Chicago police said.
Two officers assigned to the Gresham police district were injured in the wreck and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Police said the officers' SUV had its siren and lights operating but couldn't say if the squad car ran a red light at 76th Street and Yates Boulevard during the chase or how fast the vehicle was going.
As with all police chases, the department will look into whether the officers involved in Wednesday’s crash followed proper procedures in pursuing the suspects, a spokesman said. Officers must weigh the seriousness of the offense against the dangers of a chase for other drivers and bystanders.
Officers are not allowed to chase suspects wanted for minor traffic offenses. But the suspects in Wednesday’s case committed a serious crime with a gun, police said.
Relatives identified the dead woman as Jacqueline Reynolds, 56, who lived near the crash scene.
The chase began in the Grand Crossing neighborhood and ended a short time later about two miles away in the South Shore neighborhood, police said.
According to police sources, the officers gave chase based on reports that three suspects had just used a gun to commit a home invasion in the 7800 block of South Ellis Avenue. Moments later, the police SUV, heading east on 76th Street, and Reynolds' 2006 Pontiac collided at Yates at about 10:20 a.m.
Shortly after the crash, other officers apprehended one of the three home invasion suspects about two blocks away, police said. A police source said items taken during the home invasion were found in that vehicle, but no gun was recovered.
At the crash scene, Reynolds' Pontiac — its front and driver's side smashed in — sat on a patch of grass next to Yates. The squad car's front end was also heavily damaged, and an air bag had deployed on the driver's side. One of its rear tires was flat.
A third vehicle also sustained minor front-end damage in the collision. A police spokeswoman said the car's lone occupant was not seriously hurt.
Tisha Hopson, 27, who lives in an apartment about a block from the crash scene, said she heard what sounded like an explosion Wednesday morning.
"All you hear is a big boom like it's a bomb or something that went off," she said.
Reynolds' sister-in-law, Cheryl Tisby, said Reynolds was on her way to work when the collision occurred.
"We don't know why the police did what they did," she said moments before heading to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where Reynolds was pronounced dead. "We lost another soldier."
Tribune reporter Deanese Williams-Harris contributed.