Posted on Mar 20, 2012

Two young men were killed and three were injured in a car wreck in New Lenox in the early hours of March 3. They had been drag racing.

The group of friends had been drinking at the Prime Time bar in New Lenox before deciding to race their vehicles, a 2002 Ford Mustang and a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV. At 2:05 a.m., the two cars sped through the intersection at Moni Drive and South Center Avenue. They drove though a chain-link fence and about 125 feet farther before crashing into an Enbridge Energy crude oil pipeline, causing it to rupture and burst into flames.

The accident killed the two men in the Mustang: 25-year-old Zachary Orel, a Posen firefighter, and 21-year-old Bart Lenz, a New Lenox resident. The three men in the Trailblazer were taken to Silver Cross Hospital, where the front-seat passenger, 22-year-old Patrick Hall, was treated for minor burns and released.

The 21-year-old driver of the Trailblazer, Michael Piersma, and the passenger in the back seat, 20-year-old William Monreal, were severely burned from the waist down and were subsequently taken to Loyola Medical Center’s burn unit in Maywood.

Rich Adams, vice president of Enbridge Energy Company, said that the fire was burning until 5 a.m. Larry Springer, another spokesman for Enbridge, stated that the pipeline carries at least 317,000 barrels of oil a day. He could not yet determine how much oil had been spilled.

Tim Baldermann, mayor of New Lenox, said that the unincorporated area where the accident occurred is a favorite area for drag racers.

Our sympathies go out to all of the victims and their families.