1 Dead After Wrong-Way Stolen Van Sparks Chaos on West Side Highway: Police

What to Know

  • A stolen minivan smashed into parked cars, then drove the wrong way up the West Side Highway before hitting a car head-on, police said.
  • The van drove the wrong way for 20 blocks before it hit the car.
  • The female passenger in the vehicle later died from her injuries. The 23-year-old minivan driver was arrested and charged.

A stolen minivan smashed into several parked cars in Manhattan, then drove 20 blocks the wrong way on the West Side Highway late Tuesday, striking another vehicle head-on and killing the female passenger inside, police said.

The 54-year-old woman was identified as Olga Ilina, of Fair Lawn, New Jersey. 

Details about what led up to the crash are unclear, but police initially spotted the red Dodge Caravan hitting parked vehicles on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. At some point the van took off, eventually making its way over to the West Side Highway at 59th Street, where it drove north up the southbound lanes. 

The minivan went the wrong way up the West Side Highway for 20 blocks before it crashed into Ilina's car head-on at 79th Street, according to police. The driver of Ilina's vehicle was taken to a hospital in stable condition. 

The minivan driver, 23-year-old Jean Herrera, and his passenger were also hospitalized, but both are expected to be OK. Herrera was charged Wednesday night. The charges against him include manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. 

The southbound lanes of the West Side Highway were closed at 79th Street for about six hours Wednesday morning as police investigated. They were reopened to traffic shortly after 5 a.m.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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