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Chicago man perishes in crash on Toll Road

NOW: Chicago man perishes in crash on Toll Road

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — A Chicago man lost his life in a crash Saturday morning on the Indiana Toll Road, according to Indiana State Police.

An initial investigation revealed that at approximately 8:31 a.m., troopers were dispatched westbound on the I-80/90 after receiving a 911 call alerting authorities to a vehicle in flames.

The vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu, was in an area where the entrance ramp from I-65 northbound to the Toll Road merges to I-80/90 westbound.

The heavy smoke and flames proved difficult for first responders who were unable to gain entry into the car.

Gary Fire Department arrived to the scene, controlling the fire enough to allow a trooper and a firefighter to break out the driver’s side window and pull the victim out.

Despite life-saving efforts, the man succumbed to his injuries. At the same time, the fire flared back up inside of the vehicle, fully engulfing the car.

Officials say it’s still too early in the investigation to determine what caused the driver to leave the ramp into a north ditch.

Accident reconstruction experts arrived a short time later.

With the aid of the Lake County Coroner, the driver has been identified as 22-year-old James J. Ariel of Chicago.

ISP troopers, the Lake County Coroner and the Gary Fire Department assisted at the scene.

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