By Bob Uphues
A 37-year-old Berwyn man who was ultimately charged with drunken driving by Berwyn police after he crashed into a building in the 3200 block of Harlem Avenue, also received a raft of traffic tickets from police in Riverside, where surveillance cameras captured video of him driving over a planter and along sidewalks, damaging both public and private property in the village's downtown on Nov. 17 at about 1:55 a.m.
According to police, the man's 2016 Jeep Wrangler drove east on Bloomingbank Road, which is a one-way westbound street, in front of the train station and then drove up onto the sidewalk and over a ground level planter where it struck a tree and got stuck.
The driver rocked the Jeep back and forth to free it, and then drove across the railroad tracks and up onto the east sidewalk of Longcommon Road in front of the businesses there. The driver then continued north across East Burlington Street and then onto the sidewalk dining area in front of LaBarra restaurant.
The Jeep clipped one of the dining area awning's support poles, snapping it, before reentering Longcommon Road. The vehicle then headed east on Herrick Road and eventually across Harlem Avenue and directly into the building housing Upscale Audio Exchange at 3225 Harlem Ave.
Riverside police issued more than a dozen citations to the driver, including leaving the scene of an accident, driving in the wrong lane, driving on a sidewalk, damage to property and improper operation of a motor vehicle.
Investigators were able to get the Jeep's license plate number from village surveillance cameras at the train station and obtained other video (available to be viewed online at RBLandmark.com) from LaBarra Ristorante, showing the Jeep driving through the outdoor dining area.
However, according to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, Riverside police didn't learn about the Riverside portion of the incident until the following day when LaBarra's owner called to report the awning support pole damaged.
Riverside officers were on another call at the time and, despite the presence of other motorists and pedestrians, who'd just been dropped off by a Metra train, no one called to report the vehicle driving on the sidewalk.
"Without [the surveillance cameras], an arrest in this case would not have been possible," Weitzel said in a press release. "No one called 911 to report it."