State trooper injured in I-94 crash on South Side

SHARE State trooper injured in I-94 crash on South Side
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An Illinois State Police cruiser | Illinois State Police

An Illinois state trooper was hurt in a crash late Monday on Interstate 94 on the South Side.

At 11:43 p.m., troopers were sitting in their squad cars blocking the northbound lanes of I-94 near 43rd Street following a crash Chicago police were investigating, according to a statement from Illinois State Police. The troopers had their emergency lights activated and were waiting for an Illinois Department of Transportation salt truck after the crash was relocated from the expressway.

An SUV then drove up and struck the rear of the squad car that was blocking the right lane, state police said. The SUV’s driver, 43-year-old Natisha Castle, continued along the expressway after the crash.

The trooper was treated and released from a hospital for injuries that weren’t thought to be life-threatening, state police said. No one else was hurt.

Castle, of Chicago, was eventually pulled over by another trooper unit, state police said. She was charged with driving under the influence and cited for improper lane usage, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, illegal transportation of alcohol, driving on a suspended or revoked license and operating a vehicle without insurance.

Additionally, Castle was issued a citation for violating Scott’s Law, which “requires vehicles to slow down, move over and change lanes if possible, when they are approaching an emergency vehicle, or any vehicle with its hazard lights activated,” according to state police. Information about her bail and next scheduled court date wasn’t immediately known.

About 11:15 a.m. Feb. 12, an ISP trooper was struck by a vehicle on the left shoulder of northbound I-94 near Des Plaines, state police said at the time. The officer also suffered non-life threatening injuries.

“In less than one week, we have had two District Chicago Troopers struck and injured while handling on-duty incidents,” said ISP District Chicago Captain Margaret McGreal. “These crashes and subsequent injuries were completely preventable. We urge the public to practice safe driving habits and make responsible choices in order to prevent a tragedy from occurring.”

About five hours before Monday’s I-94 crash, another trooper was hurt in a five-vehicle crash in Ogle County, state police said. The trooper’s squad car sustained “extensive damage,” but he wasn’t seriously injured.

This year, nine state troopers have been struck during on-duty incidents in Illinois, state police said. Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed in a crash Jan. 12 on the Tri-State Tollway in Glenview, marking the sole fatality.

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