Special Education

2 questioned in Dan Ryan Expressway fatal shooting of Evergreen Park special ed teacher Denise Huguelet

Police were questioning two people Wednesday after a retired Evergreen Park special education teacher was shot and killed on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Denise M. Huguelet, 67, was shot about 10 p.m. Tuesday in the southbound lanes near 63rd Street, according to the Illinois State Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

She was struck by crossfire coming from two other cars as she headed home from a White Sox game with her husband, a relative told WBBM Newsradio. She had 11 grandchildren.

A state trooper nearby heard the gunshots and chased a vehicle speeding from the area, state police said. With the help of a police helicopter, troopers arrested two people from the car and recovered a handgun. No charges had been filed as of Wednesday evening.

Huguelet, of Orland Park, died of a gunshot wound to the back, an autopsy found.

Huguelet was a special education teacher for 24 years at Central Middle School, according to Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124.

“Her passion for students and her dedication to the community showed in all aspects of her work,” school officials said on Facebook. “Mrs. Huguelet’s nature with kids was kind, yet firm, to ensure that students were taught the independent skills they needed to be successful in their futures. She cared deeply about the academic needs of students, and the social and emotional well-being of every students’ needs.

“An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”

Her husband Michael Huguelet is a lawyer who once worked as a prosecutor for the village of Orland Park.

“On behalf of myself and the village board, we express our sincere condolences to the Huguelet family,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said.

The number of shootings on Chicago area expressways has more than tripled in the past three years. There have been 156 shootings on expressways so far this year, outpacing the 128 shootings seen in all of 2020, according to state police figures. There were 52 shootings in all of 2019.

The Dan Ryan has seen seen 50 shootings so far this year, the most of any Chicago-area expressway, according to the state police. The Eisenhower Expressway has the second highest number of shootings at 34, followed by the Bishop Ford with 25.

The Kennedy Expressway has had five shootings this year, and the Edens has had three.

In February, the Illinois State Police were given $12.5 million to install high-definition surveillance cameras to deter and solve expressway shootings.