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Video Shows Car Splitting In Half In Fiery Crash In East Garfield Park; Driver Runs Off

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A car was caught on video speeding down Madison Street on the city's West Side Monday morning, only to crash and split in half.

Even more incredibly, the driver ran away from the scene. But as CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported, glass and debris from the crash remained several hours later, and there were also several items left behind that seemingly belonged to the driver - including clothing, mouthwash, and a Mother's Day card.

But the driver himself was nowhere to be found late Monday afternoon.

The crash happened just before 8 a.m., interrupting a quiet morning on Madison Street between California and Washtenaw avenues in East Garfield Park.

Video you'll see only on 2 showed a Nissan traveling east when it suddenly swerved and hit a light pole. The car, now in two pieces, flew between a building and a second light pole – with the front half being stopped by a third light pole.

It was all captured on surveillance video from Acorn Granite, Marble, & Soapstone, 2727 W. Madison St. Down the street, Jose Salinas was just arriving at his business, Chicago Pups.

"We just heard like a loud bang, and then a couple bangs actually, and then just tires screeching," Salinas said.

Part of the cleaved car caught fire after crashing. As the fire down the block grew, something else caught Salinas' attention.

"Looked over the fence, and then like first thing I saw was just somebody jetting down, like down the block," he said.

That someone was the driver. Police believe he is a 27-year-old man.

Salinas said that man had a large gash on his head. Salinas was worried about someone else being hurt, and he himself ran toward the flames.

"So I just like jetted - tried getting close to, as close as I could, but like the heat was just too much," Salinas said. "So like, I went around it, but I was determined to find out if there was someone in the car so we could pull them out."

Several other employees ran outside as well – with one attempting to put out the flames with a small hose. The fire was so aggressive that it even melted the glass on a nearby light.

Hours later, as police searched for the person behind the wheel, Salinas said he was grateful that no one else got hurt.

"I'm just glad everybody was OK," he said. "I'm glad my neighbors were all right."

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