Two people were hospitalized Wednesday morning after an alleged drunken driver caused a four-car crash at the intersection of First Avenue and Forest/Ridgewood in Riverside.
Police are still conducting interviews and investigating the incident, but Chief Thomas Weitzel said that a 23-year-old Chicago man driving a tan Ford Fusion allegedly struck a vehicle in the intersection and the spun out, striking vehicles in both the northbound and southbound lanes of traffic on First Avenue.
Both the driver of the Ford and a woman inside one of the vehicles his car struck were taken to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment. Several other people were treated by paramedics at the scene, said Weitzel, and refused hospitalization.
Weitzel said police initially received a call at 11:09 a.m. from a woman who said a tan Ford Fusion struck her vehicle, which was parked at the MacNeal Professional Building, 3722 Harlem Ave.
While police were responding to that incident, a call came in at 11:15 a.m. of a four-car accident with injuries at First and Forest/Ridgewood. The offending vehicle was a tan Ford Fusion and the driver was reported to have fled northbound on foot.
Police were told the offender was wearing a blue shirt, which an officer found in the Zoo Woods forest preserve. He eventually located a shirtless man lying flat on the ground near the Des Plaines River. The man had suffered minor head injuries, police said, and was taken into custody.
He was taken back to the scene and identified by the victims as the driver of the Ford Fusion, Weitzel said. The police chief described the man as “heavily intoxicated.”
It’s not clear exactly what happened at the intersection, Weitzel said. Police are working to obtain video surveillance footage from Riverside-Brookfield High School.
Traffic on First Avenue was snarled for more than an hour after the crash, with just one southbound lane open until about 12:25 p.m., when the rest of the lanes were re-opened to traffic.
Charges against the driver of the Ford Fusion are pending.