A 66-year-old Mundelein man died and three others were hurt after an SUV crashed into a tree and caught fire Saturday off Gilmer Road in Lake County.
Investigators don’t know why the man driving a 2019 Ford Expedition swerved to the right, then to the left while traveling south about 4:45 p.m. on Gilmer Road in Fremont Township, near Erhart Road, before leaving the roadway and hitting a tree, Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County sheriff’s office said.
The Ford became fully engulfed in fire. No other vehicles were involved.
The driver was unable to escape the Ford and died at the scene, Covelli said.
A 36-year-old Grayslake man who had been in a back seat was ejected from the vehicle but suffered major injuries, including burns, Covelli said. He was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, then flown to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to be treated by its burn unit, where he remains in critical condition, Covelli said.
Two other passengers, a 37-year-old Chicago man and 36-year-old Chicago man, were able to escape the burning vehicle and were taken to hospitals with serious injuries.
The Wauconda Fire District in a statement said bystanders had stopped at the crash site and pulled the three surviving passengers out of the burning vehicle. Round Lake and Grayslake firefighters also responded.
The Lake County coroner’s office is scheduling an autopsy on the driver.
The crash remains under investigation by the Lake County sheriff’s office Traffic Crash Investigations Team.