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A 16-year-old North Chicago youth died and a 17-year-old, also from North Chicago, was seriously injured in a high-speed accident early Wednesday morning in north suburban Waukegan.

Justin Ortega, 16, of the 2400 block of Kennedy, North Chicago, was pronounced dead at the scene after the vehicle authorities believe he was driving left the roadway and smashed into a tree near 742 Fulton Avenue about 2:45 a.m.

“It was a real horrendous accident where the vehicle was cut in two," said Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey. He said Ortega was pronounced dead at 4:30 a.m. and the autopsy revealed that he died of quick deceleration from a high speed situation causing a lot of internal injuries.

When police arrived they found the vehicle's impact with the tree caused it to split in half. The rear half of the vehicle came to rest against the front of a house and the front half of the vehicle came to rest upside down in the neighbor's yard.

The driver was partially ejected from the vehicle. The passenger was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center, Libertyville, with non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident is still under investigation by the Waukegan Police Department's Major Traffic Accident Unit.

** Also available online for a limited time at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/7400192-418/teen-driver-killed-when-car-slams-into-tree

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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