An 8-year-old Riverside boy remains seriously injured and in a medically induced coma after being struck by a drunk driver while riding his bike in front of his home on Monday afternoon, police have reported.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the boy and his two siblings, ages 11 and 6, were riding their bikes in the driveway of their home in the 300 block of Eastgrove Road about 5 p.m., when the 8 year old pedaled out of the driveway and into the street.
He was struck by a vehicle driven by Lyons resident Cynthia L. Grosse, 66, who reportedly was cutting through the village on residential side streets in order to avoid traffic on Harlem Avenue, police said.
The boy, who was unconscious and bleeding when emergency personnel arrived, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center. Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the boy had suffered a “severe brain injury.” He was placed in a medically induced coma to help reduce brain swelling, Weitzel said.
Grosse, who has a Florida driver’s license, reportedly was driving back to Lyons from Oak Park, where she had visited a friend at an elder-care facility. According to police, Grosse admitted to drinking while in Oak Park. Prior to driving to Oak Park, Grosse worked as a caretaker for an elderly patient at a LaGrange Park facility. Police say Grosse admitted to drinking alcohol while on the job there as well.
In addition, police recovered evidence inside Grosse’s vehicle indicating that she continued to drink while she was driving. Police reported recovering open containers of beer inside the vehicle, including at least one plastic cup filled with beer. Grosse reportedly failed field sobriety tests at the scene.
Because the only witnesses to the crash were children, police obtained four search warrants in order to collect physical evidence from Grosse’s vehicle. The Illinois State Police Crime Lab is also doing tests to determine Grosse’s level of intoxication at the time of the incident.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Grosse on Wednesday with aggravated driving under the influence causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony. She was also cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and illegal transportation of open alcohol.
At a court hearing Thursday, a judge set Grosse’s bond at $350,000. She remains in custody at Cook County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on Sept. 21.
According to police, Grosse was charged with DUI in Cook County in 1986.
“Make no mistake, this is not an accident,” Weitzel said. “This is a purposeful act, a crash, and it is a crime that is 100-percent preventable.”