Alleged Drunk Driver Clips Chicago Fire Department Ambulance, Officials Say

Firefighter helmet

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

Chicago Tribune


An alleged drunken driver clipped an empty Chicago Fire Department ambulance with his SUV early Monday morning and fled the scene, Chicago police said.

Officers were called to the 7600 block of South Crandon Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood about 2:40 a.m., according to a statement from police. They determined a 35-year-old man had been driving south on Crandon Avenue “when he struck an unoccupied CFD ambulance,” it said.

The driver was not injured in the crash and the crew was responding to a call at the time, officials said.

The extent of the damage was minimal, according to Larry Merritt, a spokesman for the Fire Department. He wasn’t sure when the crew noticed the damage, but he said the accident didn’t take the vehicle out of service.

“They tried to squeeze past an engine and an ambulance and they scratched the side of the ambulance,” Merritt said. “It was not like it slammed into the side of the ambulance at a high speed; they were trying to go around and clipped it.”

Merritt and police said the man drove away without stopping after hitting the ambulance.

“The driver fled the scene eastbound on 76th,” police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli wrote in an email. “Responding officers located the vehicle and its driver in the 7500 block of South Essex.”

The man had been driving a Dodge Journey at the time, Bartoli said. When police caught up with him, they suspected he was under the influence of alcohol, according to officials.

“Charges and citations (for traffic violations) are pending,” Bartoli wrote.

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