BRONZEVILLE — An off-duty Chicago police officer and a woman were killed in a car crash that happened after the officer sped away from police cars trying to pull him over, officials said.
The officer had gotten off work just 10 minutes earlier and was driving to his girlfriend's home when several on-duty officers spotted his car and thought it was the same car that had been involved in a carjacking, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a Tuesday news conference.
Police officers in an unmarked SUV started to chase the off-duty officer, using their sirens and lights for at least a part of the time, officials said. They went from Roosevelt and Independence to the 4400 block of West Roosevelt Road.
That's where the off-duty officer crashed into another car about 1 a.m., killing himself and a 27-year-old woman driving another car, Johnson said.
"This is among the most difficult and heartbreaking addresses I've had to make ... due to the unnecessary loss of life," Johnson said, adding there were many unanswered questions about the incident.
It's possible the officers were ending the chase when the crash happened, said Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The officers had turned off their sirens and lights before the crash, he said.
The off-duty officer's car was not the car involved in the carjacking, police said.
The investigation is ongoing, details of the chase remain unclear. pic.twitter.com/2WL3ptp5Vi— Kayla Martinez (@k_martnz) June 27, 2017
The off-duty officer's identity won't be revealed until his family is notified. He had been with the Police Department for nearly four years before his death.
Johnson apologized to the family of the woman who was killed and said grief counselors would be available to Police Department employees.
The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident.
At least 20 police cruisers were seen leaving Stroger Hospital in a procession following the officer's body, according to ABC7.