CHICAGO (CBS) — “I can’t believe we survived” – those are the words of a terrified Uber driver who was caught in the middle of hundreds of teens getting pushed through the downtown area by Chicago Police.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the driver had to jump the curb and then go the wrong way down Washington Street on the sidewalk just to escape the group, which targeted him at a red light.
On Monday night, the attack was raising bigger questions about what is being done to handle those rowdy teens on weekends.
Standing on the corner of Wabash Avenue and Washington Street brings back horrible memories for the Uber driver.
“I’m just scared, and it’s going to take a while to regain the trust of the city, I guess,” he said.
The driver is fearful after his Kia ended up getting each and every window busted out – all by a group of teens who were getting ushered by police from Millennium Park on July 4th weekend.
“I knew they were coming I said, ‘Oh f***, and so they came and jumped on the car and started dancing around on the hood,” he said.
But the driver said some in the crowd turned violent and tried opening the doors. What happened next had the driver and his two passengers in disbelief.
“And then they broke in the driver window, and that’s where I knew we were in big trouble, because they were trying to grab me, and I heard the back rear window shatter as well,” he said.
A pitchfork crashed through the rear window, coming within inches of his Uber passengers.
“Who knows what would have happened if they were able to pull us out of the vehicle? It seem like they wanted blood,” he said. “It’s terrifying just to think that there’s just basically a school a piranhas just roaming the streets of Chicago, and we don’t know where they’re going to show up.”
CBS 2 first exposed how these groups of 300 to 400 have roamed the Loop and downtown for consecutive Saturdays.
The CPD said it has tactical units ready to deal with the crowds. But with teens turning violent, many are concerned it will only get worse.
“It was nothing short of miracle that he’s still living,” said community activist the Rev. Robin Hood.
Hood said we do not need an act of God, but action from government to help Chicago teenagers who were suffering before the pandemic.
“The state needs to step up and come up with these summer jobs that should have should have started last week,” Hood said.
Hood is not justifying the violence associated with the large meetups, but he believes without neighborhood resources, this could get worse.
“It’s easy to say that those kids were thugs,” Hood said. “No, these kids are suffering from trauma to the 10th power.”
Police Supt. David Brown relates to the frustration.
“If police are the only people at the podium answering questions, likely nothing will change,” he said.
CPD said they are simply monitoring and ushering the groups out of the downtown area when they pop up. Some are questioning if it is time for police to start arresting the teens.
As for the Uber driver, he was not injured. But he said his car had more than $8,000 in damage.