An Evanston man has died and a Chicagoan was injured this morning when their car struck a tree on Chicago Avenue in front of Calvary Cemetery in Evanston.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says the accident happened about 7 a.m. and that the two men who’d been riding in the car were transported to St. Francis Hospital with traumatic injuries from the crash.

Car parts lying on the sidewalk near a tree that may have been the one the car hit.

Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott said the car’s driver, Octavio Garcia-Martinez, 27, of Evanston died of his injuries at the hospital about 45 minutes later.

Parrott says the passenger, a 27-year-old from Chicago, apparently escaped serious injury. He said the car, a 2003 Nissan Altima, had been heading southbound on Chicago Avenue when it crossed the center line and struck the tree on the east side of the road. It then spun around and came to rest facing northbound in the southbound traffic lanes.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said both men apparently were ejected from the car by the impact.

The impact of the crash left car parts strewn across the road, which wasn’t reopened to traffic until about noon.

Evanston police traffic bureau officers assisted by the major crash assistance team of the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the crash. Parrott says it’s not known whether alcohol or drugs were involved. He says neither the driver nor the passenger appeared to have been wearing seatbelts.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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