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Elgin pizza delivery driver continues fighting for life following July 21 crash

 Dani ManeElgwho was severely injured vehicle crash July 21 Elgin. | Submitted

Dani Manea of Elgin, who was severely injured in a vehicle crash July 21 in Elgin. | Submitted

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Updated: September 3, 2013 7:06AM

ELGIN — A pizza delivery driver critically injured in a violent accident on Summit Street the night of July 21 remains in St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, where friends and co-workers say she is fighting for her life.

Cindy Bauer was working as wait staff and taking phone orders at the Chicago Pizza Authority with driver Daniela “Dani” Manea the night of the crash. The restaurant, at 1050 Summit St., is in the same strip mall as the Jewel-Osco.

“I heard the impact,” Bauer said “Another driver got on his skateboard to see what happened. When he came back, he was as white as a ghost. It was Dani’s car.”

Bauer left the restaurant in time to see Elgin firefighter-paramedics put her friend into an ambulance.

“They had to use the jaws of life to get her out of her car,” Bauer said.

Bauer also noticed physical evidence of how brutal the crash was. The engine block from Manea’s car landed about 30 feet from the vehicle, Bauer said, and wound up near the Chase Bank branch on Summit.

Judging by what she saw, “There is no way they were traveling 40 mph,” Bauer guessed of those driving along Summit who may have been involved in the crash.

According to Bauer, surgeons operated on Manea, 55, for about eight hours that night and that her friend remains in the intensive care unit.

“She had a number of broken bones and fractures and a lot of internal injuries. They had to remove her spleen, repair her pancreas and work behind her heart,” Bauer said.

Manea, a former mortgage originator, has been delivering pizzas for CPA for about six months.

“Dani is extremely lucky to be alive and is on a long road to recovery. But she seems optimistic,” Bauer said.

However, Bauer said that late Tuesday, Manea had taken a turn for the worst and was battling kidney failure, swelling on the brain, and could not follow simple commands. Her condition remained critical Thursday, friends said.

“They were putting her on dialysis,” Bauer said. Bauer had also been in touch with a brother, Gabriel, in Michigan, who has come to Elgin.

Laura Almasan has been friends with Manea for 10 years, worked with her at ResMAE Mortgage Co., and the two have been roommates for four years.

“Dani is an animal lover who makes regular donations to animal shelters,” Almasan said. “She regularly attends Harvest Bible Church, and she sponsored a child in Kenya.”

Crash details

In reports published after the accident, police Cmdr. Dan O’Shea said a preliminary investigation indicated that a 2007 Kia driven by Manea had been turning east onto Summit from Shady Oaks Drive about 8 p.m. July 21. During the turn, her car was hit by a 2006 Dodge Charger, driven by 22-year-old Noe Aguilera of Elgin, which was heading west on Summit.

After this initial crash, O’Shea said, the Charger was hit by a 2004 Infinity G35 driven by 28-year-old Ramon Moreno-Murillo of Elgin, who also was going west on Summit. O’Shea said the Charger then crossed over into the oncoming lanes of Summit and collided with a 2001 Infinity QX4 driven by 19-year-old Jennifer Ramirez of Elgin, who was heading east. The impact led to the Charger crossing back over into the westbound lanes of Summit and colliding again with Moreno-Murillo’s Infinity.

While Manea remains in ICU, O’Shea said at the time that all of the other drivers and passengers were either treated and released at the scene or transported to local hospitals with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

Summit Street was shut down between Shady Oaks and Waverly Drive for more than seven hours while police investigated that night. No tickets were issued at the time.

O’Shea said this week that the accident remains an open case and anyone with information related to it should call 847-289-2661.

In addition to other duties at CPA — and another restaurant job — Bauer also has been driving for the pizzeria. She said she frequently sees unsafe behavior from other drivers and pedestrians.

“I was heading through the intersection of Summit and Dundee the other day and had the green light. A couple kids on bikes darted out into traffic without stopping.”

Bauer said she hopes anyone who may have seen anything related to the July 21 accident would contact police. “Sometimes I wish I was a cop, so I could write people tickets,” she said.

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