One woman was taken to the hospital Wednesday morning following a three-car accident on First Avenue south of Parkview Road in Riverside. It was the 10th accident police have responded to on that stretch of roadway since a construction project began in late June.
According to Riverside police, a 46-year-old Berwyn woman was driving a 2002 Honda Odyssey van northbound on First Avenue in stop-and-go traffic approaching the construction zone at about 10 a.m. when she dozed off behind the wheel of her 2002 Honda Odyssey van. Her foot reportedly slipped off the brake and the van rear-ended a 2004 Saturn Ion, which in turn rear-ended a semi-tractor trailer.
The force of the crash caused the hood of the Saturn to become lodged under the lip of the trailer.
The driver of the Saturn, a 63-year-old Lockport woman, reportedly suffered a head injury and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. The driver of the van was not injured — nor were the three children between the ages of 7 and 10, who were passengers in the van.
Traffic backups near the intersection of First Avenue and Forest/Ridgewood in Riverside have become commonplace since the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) started a project in the northbound lanes of First Avenue on June 25.
The roadway has been reduced to just one lane of traffic in either direction in the construction zone.
Because the Saturn was wedged under the trailer and had to be towed away, police were on the scene for the better part of an hour, which backed up traffic on northbound First Avenue all the way to I-55.
“We had traffic screwed up for more than an hour,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.
The MWRD project is expected to continue into October, at which time an Illinois Department of Transportation intersection improvement project is slated to begin. When classes begin at Riverside-Brookfield High School, which is located at the intersection of First and Ridgewood Avenue, traffic problems are expected to increase during the morning rush and in the mid-afternoon hours.
The driver of the van was ticketed for improper starting of a parked vehicle.