Two Die In Fiery Dan Ryan Crash, Driver At Fault A Chicago Cop (VIDEO)

05/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UPDATE: The AP has posted a story on the crash:

An off-duty Chicago police officer crashed his sport utility vehicle into a car parked along an expressway early Friday, causing a fiery explosion that killed two people, authorities said.

The officer tried to flee after being helped from his vehicle by a passerby, but was apprehended quickly and taken to a local hospital, State Police Sgt. Juan Valenzuela said.

Chicago police said in a statement that the 41-year-old officer is an 18-year veteran who worked in the detective division. The statement said an internal affairs investigation had begun the officer would be "relieved of his police powers."

The accident happened shortly before 4 a.m. along the Dan Ryan Expressway on the city's South Side, police said. Valenzuela said the car had pulled to the side of the expressway before it was struck from behind.

Killed were driver Andrew Cazares, 23, of Summit, and passenger Fausto Manzera, 21, of Chicago, Valenzuela said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office did not immediately release the cause of death, and a spokesman did not return a phone message.

Valenzuela said the officer driving the SUV, whom he would not identify, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he remained late Friday afternoon. A hospital spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether the officer was there or his condition.

UPDATE: The off-duty officer behind a fatal crash on the Dan Ryan early Friday was drunk when the SUV he was driving slammed into a disabled car, killing two people, both the Sun-Times and Tribune are reporting.

The 41-year-old detective, who is in police custody at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, reportedly had a blood alcohol level .08, nearly triple the legal limit.

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Two people were killed on the Dan Ryan Expressway near Pilsen early Friday when a SUV slammed into their disabled vehicle and burst into flames, the Sun-Times reports.

Illinois state police said that the driver of the SUV who police said was responsible for the fatal crash is a Chicago police officer, the Tribune reports. He was off-duty at the time of the crash.

Watch footage of the scene from NBC Chicago:

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