Two cited in Des Plaines crashes that happened within hours of each other
Two people have been ticketed after striking pedestrians in almost the same spot within two hours of each other Thursday in downtown Des Plaines, police said Friday.
An 88-year-old woman was cited for driving on an expired license and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a roadway, in the first crash that occurred at 1:44 p.m., Police Chief Bill Kushner said.
The 69-year-old woman crossing Miner Street near Pearson Street who was struck by the vehicle remained in very critical condition Friday following emergency surgery the night before, Kushner said.
In the second crash, which was reported at 3:51 p.m., a 32-year-old woman was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a roadway and failure to exercise due caution.
Two 13-year-old girls riding their bikes across Miner were struck by the woman's car in almost the same spot as the earlier crash.
One of the girls had a fractured clavicle and was treated and released to her parents Thursday night. The other girl suffered a skull fracture and was admitted to the hospital for observation, Kushner said.
On Friday, Des Plaines police were issuing tickets to drivers who failed to stop as a police officer in plain clothes was trying to cross Miner in the marked crosswalk where the crashes occurred Thursday. Officers issued a dozen tickets in two hours, and plan to continue the stepped-up enforcement on an intermittent basis, Kushner said.
"It's definitely a case of the drivers not paying attention to the signage," he said. "There's 11 signs just at that crosswalk by the train station -- two in the middle of the street that say stop for pedestrians."
"The fact you're a pedestrian does not abrogate your responsibility of looking both ways and exercising due caution. That also means drivers have to exercise due caution when they see pedestrians trying to cross a roadway," Kushner said.
Medians, signage and stripped crosswalk markings were installed a few years ago as part of roadway improvements on Miner, but city officials are now asking the state Department of Transportation -- which has jurisdiction over the road -- for more safety features.
That could include flashing lights, said Alderman Patti Haugeberg, whose 1st Ward includes the downtown area.
"When we installed that pedestrian median we had requested some items like a flashing light," she said. "I don't want to see the downtown area become a cluster of signage, but that would've been perfect."
The city's engineering department plans to submit a formal report next week to the state requesting additional roadway improvements.