Riverside to semi drivers: You were warned

The closure of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad’s Harlem Avenue grade crossing caused plenty of traffic headaches for motorists and extra traffic on some residential streets in Riverside, but there could be a silver lining — close to $10,000 for the village.

That’s roughly the amount of money the village of Riverside stands to collect from semi-tractor truck drivers who ignored the warning signs and ended up trying to find their way around the grade closure by heading into Riverside.

Between Aug. 27 and Sept. 4, Riverside police manned the area near the Harlem Avenue grade crossing, handing out more than 135 citations to motorists. Of that number, according to Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, at least 95 were for having an overweight vehicle on a village street.

Those tickets, which are local ordinance violations handled by the village’s adjudicator, not the circuit court system, come with a fine of $100.

“You can’t have a semi on an interior Riverside street unless it’s a local delivery,” Weitzel said. “We don’t allow cut-through semi traffic at all.”

No truck over 72,000 pounds is allowed on village side streets, Weitzel said, and all of the truck drivers cited for overweight vehicles were driving semi rigs, most of them topping 80,000 pounds.

More of the violations were for trucks cutting through the village on East Quincy Street, East Burlington Street, Herrick Road and Lawton Road, Weitzel said. Some of the semis also knocked large branches off trees on the residential streets, resulting in tickets for damaging village property. There were also two minor accidents, at least one of them involving a semi, due to the grade crossing situation.

The fines could be a windfall for the village, whose police wrote just 32 overweight vehicle citations in all of 2014. All but two of those were written for trucks traveling on state roads, like Harlem Avenue and First Avenue.

Those tickets are not handled by the village adjudicator and, as a result, didn’t result in much fine revenue for Riverside.

Weitzel said truck drivers were given ample notice via multiple signs on Harlem Avenue between Ogden Avenue and Cermak Road warning of the grade crossing closure and point out truck routes.

Death investigation

North Riverside police continue to investigate the death of a 35-year-old woman, who was found unresponsive on the living room couch by her boyfriend on Sept. 2 at about 11:20 a.m.

There were signs of possible alcohol and prescription consumption, but police were unable to find any signs of foul play. There was no evidence of any other kind of narcotics use, such as syringes, etc., police said. The Cook County Medical Examiner on Sept. 3 stated that a cause of death was pending further investigation.

Please don’t do that

A 52-year-old Riverside woman apologized to police last week after officers were summoned to Ames School, 86 Southcote Road, on Sept. 3 at about 3:45 p.m. when a teacher complained to the school’s principal that a woman in a silver vehicle took pictures of students and spoke with them on two different occasions that day.

Police visited the address the vehicle was registered to and spoke to a woman who told an officer that she didn’t mean any harm. 

Asleep in motel lot

Brookfield police cited a 30-year-old Countryside man with possession of drug paraphernalia after an officer reported finding him and a 34-year-old Chicago man asleep inside a 2004 Toyota Corolla parked in the lot at the Brookfield Motel, 8809 Ogden Ave., on Sept. 3 at about 3:50 a.m.

The passenger inside the vehicle, later identified as a the Countryside man, had a hypodermic needle in his abdomen and the officer reported observing a small pink zip-top bag with white residue in the lap of the passenger.

The officer removed the needle from the man’s abdomen and then woke up the two subjects, who told him they were homeless and didn’t have enough money to rent a room. The passenger reportedly told the officer he had injected heroin prior to the officer’s arrival.

Police also reported finding two more hypodermic needles and another empty small pink baggie with white residue. The Chicago man who was driving the vehicle was not charged.

Mall kiosk burglarized

An employee at the Royale Hair kiosk inside the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, contacted police on Sept. 1 to report that the kiosk had been burglarized.

The employee told police that she arrived to work at about 10 a.m. to open the kiosk and found that the tarp covering the kiosk had been pulled up slightly. A box for a hair straightening iron was found on a chair outside the kiosk. The box was empty. The loss was estimated at $123.

Retail theft

Clark Pryor, 35, of Chicago, faces felony retail theft charges after he reportedly was found to be in possession of 26 baseball caps that he allegedly stole from Burlington Coat Factory, 2208 Harlem Ave., on Sept. 1.

Police stopped Pryor outside Kohl’s at about 11:20 a.m., because he matched the description of someone suspected of attempting to steal merchandise at Fallas inside the North Riverside Park Mall. Fallas had recovered all of its merchandise and did not wish to press charges.

However, police said, Pryor was carrying a large paper shopping bag containing the baseball caps, which were identified by a Burlington Coat Factory security agent as their property. Surveillance video reportedly caught Pryor taking the hats from the display and concealing them in the bag before leaving the store without paying for them.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved enhancing the retail theft charge to felony status due to a prior retail theft conviction in 2013.

Account closed

A 25-year-old Brookfield man who was allegedly caused a scene at the First National Bank of Brookfield, 9136 Washington Ave., on Sept. 2 at about 3 p.m. was arrested by Brookfield police on DuPage County warrant and cited for possession of cannabis after being contacted by a bank employee.

The man reportedly was angry because he believed his bank account to be short $200 and blamed the bank for the mistake. When a bank employee reportedly showed the man that he’d recently made about $200 in purchases, he stormed out of the bank, knocking over a chair in the process, according to the police report.

Bank officials told police the man was no longer welcome there and that they’d be issuing him a check for the 40 cents remaining in his account.

Police responded to the man’s address to talk to him and learned of the warrant while en route. They arrested him on the warrant without incident and informed him of the bank’s decision regarding his account there.

Bike rides into car

A 20-year-old Riverside woman was taken to hospital by paramedics on Sept. 1 after she rode her bicycle into the side of a 2001 Ford Taurus driven by a 58-year-old North Riverside woman, police said.

According to police, the Taurus was westbound on 24th Street traveling through the intersection of 7th Avenue. The east-west thoroughfare is not controlled by a stop sign.

The bicyclist was northbound on 7th Avenue and reportedly went through the stop sign controlling traffic there. The bicyclist struck the middle of the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to the crash report.

There was no additional information on how seriously the bicyclist was injured.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Aug. 30-Sept. 3, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.