Vernon Hills teen, parents killed in Arizona crash - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Vernon Hills teen, parents killed in Arizona crash

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Three members of a Vernon Hills family on spring break in Arizona died last week, when a car being chased by police struck their vehicle on a highway near the Grand Canyon, authorities in Arizona said.

Tomohiro Hirayama, 50, his wife Sachiyo, 42, and their son Yuki, a 16-year-old sophomore at Stevenson High School, were killed in the 9:03 p.m. crash March 28 on U.S. Route 160, Pioneer Press is reporting.

The Hirayama's 9-year-old daughter, Rinka Hirayama, was the lone survivor of the crash, and remains at Phoenix Children's Hospital, authorities in Arizona said. Rinka attends Half Day School in Lincolnshire.

Raul Garcia, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said last weekend proved one of the most dangerous in the history of the state's highways.

"I can't remember the last time we've had this many in a weekend," he said Monday.

Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey said the Hirayamas moved to the area from Holland last summer, and had no relatives in the United States.

"This was a big shock to everybody," he said. "It's a real tragic situation."

Garcia said officers from the Tuba City Police Department were pursuing a 2002 Ford pickup with two people inside, but added that the officers were about a mile behind the truck as they sped east on U.S. 160. He said he did not know why Tuba City officers were chasing the truck or why they were about a mile behind.

The truck crossed the two-lane highway's yellow line, Garcia said, and crashed head-on into the Hirayamas' Chrysler.

"That truck burned at the scene," Garcia said. "Its occupants have not been identified yet."

Medics declared Tomohiro, Sachiyo and Yuki dead at the scene.

Conrey said Yuki had been involved in the school's fencing program, and had also made close friends in the school's English-language learners' classes.

"He was part of a tightly knit group," Conrey said. "He was always in a happy mood, and I think the kids really liked him."

Garcia said Tuba City investigators are still sorting through the crash's details.

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