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HIGHLAND — A Griffith man critically injured in a New Year's Day crash has died. 

Paul Balunda, 60, was pronounced dead at 10:35 a.m. Friday at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois — nearly two weeks after the Jan. 1 crash.

The crash happened about 1:48 p.m. in the 9400 block of U.S. 41 in Highland, police Cmdr. John Banasiak said previously.

A preliminary investigation shows a 55-year-old man from Los Angeles was northbound on U.S. 41 in the outside lane when a Griffith man, later identified as Balunda, attempted to make a left turn into the Easy Clean Car Wash, 9425 Indianapolis Blvd.

The first driver, unable to avoid the collision, struck Balunda's passenger side.

Balunda had to extricated by Highland fire crews, Banasiak said. 

The Highland Police Department is leading the investigation. The Lake County Sheriff's Accident Reconstruction Team assisted.


Public safety reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.