Charges Pending in Sidewalk Crash

8 hurt; police believe alcohol was involded

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    NEWSLETTERS

    May 21, 2011: A shaken Kyle Quintero describes the crash from her vantage point inside the Big Bowl restaurant. (Published Saturday, May 21, 2011)

    Charges are pending Sunday morning against a Streets and Sanitation worker who police say had been drinking before he lost control of his pickup truck and plowed into a crowded sidewalk.

    A group of a roughly a dozen people helped to lift a truck off two people pinned underneath it when the truck jumped the curb and struck a crowd in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, a witness said.

    Eight people were injured, four seriously, in the crash near Rush and Cedar streets shortly after noon Saturday, officials said.

    The victims included models dressed as a bride and groom who were taking part in a photo shoot. The first in what should be a series of lawsuits was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

    Three witnesses told NBC Chicago the driver "looked intoxicated" and was calmly smoking a cigarette during the aftermath of the crash.

    Responding officers had him submit to field sobriety tests, a witness said, adding that the driver had difficulty walking in a straight line.

    Police, who believe alcohol was involved, said the 61-year-old driver would be charged Sunday morning.

    The city employee was part of a "loop unit," with duties to empty trash baskets and clean debris.  He was in the middle of a shift that began at 6 a.m., officials said.  He was required to submit to drug and alcohol testing, which is standard whenever there's an accident.

    None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, said Fire Media Affairs spokesman Larry Langford.

    The most seriously injured was a nanny.  She was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. 

    "She'll make it," said Langford.

    A child among the injured was taken to Children's Memorial Hospital.

    The police department's Major Accidents Unit is investigating the crash.

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