By Bob Uphues
Riverside police cited an 18-year-old Prospect Heights woman for three traffic offenses after she allegedly turned left in front of oncoming traffic at about 4:25 p.m. on Aug. 26, resulting in a crash that left her and her two passengers injured.
It could have been much worse.
Video from a village security camera mounted on the east wall of Riverside-Brookfield High School shows a blue 2017 Saturn turning left from southbound First Avenue to eastbound Forest Avenue in front of a red 2016 Mazda.
The Mazda strikes the Saturn's passenger side door so hard that it forces the Saturn off the roadway and onto the northeast corner of First and Forest avenues. Three young boys, two with bicycles, were standing on that corner waiting to cross First Avenue at the time of the crash.
They can be seen on the security video running away as the Saturn spins off the roadway where they were standing. None of the boys was hurt and all three had left the scene by the time police arrived, according to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.
"As is clearly stated in the street camera video, this situation could have been far worse because it had the possibility of being a triple fatality for the pedestrians," Weitzel said in a news release. "I am so thankful they were able to get out of the way."
The video also helped police determine which driver was at fault, since it shows the Saturn turning in front of the Mazda as that vehicle was entering the intersection. The driver of the Mazda had no time to stop prior to the crash.
A 27-year-old Norridge woman, who was the driver of the Mazda, was not injured, police said.
All three people inside the Saturn, including the driver, a 17-year-old Wheeling girl who was a front-seat passenger and a 19-year-old Prospect Heights woman who was the backseat passenger, suffered unspecified non-life threatening injuries and were taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. The front passenger reportedly was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extricated by firefighters.
At least two of those people had been released from the hospital by Thursday morning, Weitzel said.
Police cited the driver of the Saturn for having no valid driver's license, failure to yield and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.