‘Alcohol a factor’ in Riverside crash that left Chicago man dead

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The remains of a car are wrapped around a tree at Harlem and Shenstone in Riverside Thursday afternoon. The driver died several hours later at a hospital. | Riverside police

A Chicago man died several hours after crashing his car into a tree Thursday afternoon in west suburban Riverside, and police said “alcohol was a factor.”

Police responded about 3 p.m. to the single-vehicle crash in which a 1993 Buick left the roadway southbound on Harlem just south of Shenstone Road in Riverside, according to a statement from Riverside police.

The driver was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extricated by Riverside Fire Department personnel. Thomas J. Blecka, 66, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he died at 7:42 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office

An autopsy on Blecka, of the 2900 block of North McVicker, is scheduled for Saturday. Police said alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Riverside police and the Illinois State Police vehicle reconstruction team continue to investigate.

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