Riverside police charged a 52-year-old Brookfield woman with drugged driving and other traffic offenses after she allegedly drove her black 2002 Toyota Rav 4 off the roadway, onto the sidewalk and into a tree in front of La Barra Ristorante, 2 E. Burlington St., on Sept. 21 at about 11:45 p.m.
When police arrived, they observed that the Rav 4 had severe front-end damage and had completely knocked down the tree, which was lying on the parkway on the north side of East Burlington Street.
In addition, the vehicle reportedly had struck an electric street lamp along Longcommon Road and temporary fencing set up outside the restaurant for outdoor dining prior to crashing into the tree and coming to a stop.
Surveillance video shows the vehicle veering onto the sidewalk from Longcommon Road and then continuing past the restaurant entrance onto the East Burlington Street sidewalk. Police believe the driver had entered the downtown via eastbound Forest Avenue.
Police reported finding the driver sitting in the vehicle, behind the steering wheel and smoking a cigarette, with the car running.
The driver appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, said police, and she reportedly told police she had ingested cannabis, Xanax and heroin before driving. Paramedics transported the driver to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn for treatment of unspecified but non-life threatening injuries and to obtain blood and urine samples for narcotics testing. She was released into police custody at 7 a.m. on Sept. 22.
In addition to driving under the influence of drugs, the woman was cited for improper lane usage, driving on the sidewalk, failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, having no proof of vehicle insurance and damage to village property.
It’s the second time an impaired motorist has left the roadway and has driven on the sidewalk in front of La Barra.
In November 2019, a driver who eventually crashed into a Berwyn business on Harlem Avenue drove along the east sidewalk of Longcommon Road north from the railroad tracks and through the covered outdoor seating area on the west side of La Barra before veering back onto the Longcommon Road and then turning onto Herrick Road, crossing Harlem Avenue and crashing into a building.