Edwin Espinoza

Edwin Espinoza

Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in Oak Lawn crash

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By Bob Bong

An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a tree at 95th Street and Harlem Avenue in Oak Lawn.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Edwin Espinoza, 35, of the 5300 block of South Merrimac Avenue on the city’s Southwest Side.

Chicago police confirmed that Espinoza was an off-duty probationary officer who joined the department a year ago.

The crash happened about 8 a.m. Sunday morning near the Harlem Avenue entrance ramp to the Tri-State Tollway.

Espinoza was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he later died of his injuries, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The crash was still under investigation this week, according to Gerald Vetter, Division Chief of Investigations with the Oak Lawn Police Department. “Once our traffic unit completes their investigation we will be able to provide more information,” he said in an email.

Alexis Espinoza, of Palos Hills, has started a gofundme campaign to assist with funeral costs and other expenses.

“We are heartbroken to share that we have lost a son, brother, uncle, god father, and friend; Edwin Espinoza on the morning of Sunday, November 26th. He was deeply loved by his parents, brothers and sister, niece and nephews, numerous cousins, and friends. We are deeply saddened to have lost him so soon,” she wrote.

The campaign had raised $26,713 as of Tuesday toward a goal of $40,000.

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