Updated 5/21/11 6:13 p.m.
CHICAGO (STMW) – A Department of Streets & Sanitation driver lost control of city truck and crashed into several pedestrians — including a toddler and a group of models in a wedding photo — Saturday afternoon in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
The Streets & Sanitation Ford F-150 pickup truck was northbound on State Street when the driver lost control about 12:20 p.m. and struck four adults and a child at 6 E. Cedar St., police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.
One of the injured pedestrians, Cedar Street resident Curtiss Powell, said he feels lucky to have survived. He received eight stitches on the back of his head.
“I heard tires squeal, I heard people screaming and a horn honking and I looked up and saw a truck headed straight for me,” Powell told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “I blocked it with my hands. It knocked me back, and my head hit the concrete. At that point, then he stopped. If he hadn’t stopped he basically would have run me down.”
Isaiah Watkins, who works at Ashkenaz Deli across the street from the crash, said the truck driver was “very disoriented” after the crash and looked like he had been drinking. He said police took what appeared to be a whiskey bottle from the white pickup truck.
Investigators were interviewing the driver Saturday evening, but the driver had not yet been charged or cited, Mirabelli said. Police would not say if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash until their investigation was completed.
The truck collided with a photographer shooting several pedestrians modeling a wedding and nearby bystanders on the southeast corner of the intersection, Mirabelli said.
Watkins said he heard the pickup truck sideswipe another vehicle and saw people hitting the ground.
“I’m sitting here working and the next thing we see is the truck directly in front of the door,” Watkins said. People were scattering, flying and dispersing. It was something I never saw before.
“I saw at least three or four people lying on the ground, blood on the ground. People were crying. It was a horrible sight.”
A child, about 2 years old, was taken to Children’s Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Mirabelli said. The toddler’s caretaker, a woman in her 20s, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in “very critical” condition, police said.
The photographer and “bride and groom” were also hospitalized, police said.
“The ‘bride and groom’ did not sustain life-threatening injuries,” Mirabelli said.
A total of eight people — including the motorist and a — were taken to local hospitals, police and fire officials said. Two people remained in “very critical” condition Saturday afternoon.
An EMS Plan 1, which automatically sends at least five ambulances to the scene, was secured at 12:52 p.m., Fire Media Affairs spokesman Richard Rosado said.
The police Major Accident Investigation Unit is investigating.
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