Car hits beam of elevated train in Chicago; 4 die

May 13, 2012 - 6:29 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — A speeding car hit a support beam of a Chicago elevated train track, crashing with enough force for the vehicle to split in two and killing four female passengers inside, authorities said Sunday.

Family and friends grieving on Mother's Day said all four women were mothers who were out for the night and had planned to attend a party.

The Cook County medical examiner's office said three died at the scene — Tyshyra Hines, 21; Bernadette Harris, 25; and Alicia Josten, 22. A fourth woman, 21-year-old Ieshia Nelson, was pronounced dead at an area hospital early Sunday.

Harris' sister, Sheila Harris, told the Chicago Tribune that her sister was a devoted parent to three children, ages 4, 6 and 8.

"She'd go above and beyond for her kids," she said. "She was an outstanding mother."

Chicago Police Department spokesman Hector Alfaro said the car was traveling fast when it hit a cement beam that supports Chicago Transit Authority train tracks on the city's West Side before it ran into a light pole.

Chicago fire officials said the vehicle crashed with enough force that it split in two. Police were investigating the cause of the crash, which happened about midnight Sunday.

The four women were headed to a party, Nelson's mother, Yvette Harris, told Chicago's WBBM-Radio. She said her daughter had a 2-year-old son, and she had not yet told him the news.

"I took him to his grandparents' last night, because he couldn't go to the hospital with me," Harris said. "I don't know what I'm going to say."