Crashes only most recent on Hinsdale’s Washington Street
The village engineer in Hinsdale will consider ways to prevent cars parking on Washington Street from jumping the curb and hitting buildings, as this Lexux did Feb 23, crashing into the Steinway Piano Gallery.
Updated: April 15, 2013 6:40AM
HINSDALE — Some drivers have a hard time parking on Washington Street between First and Second streets in Hinsdale.
Since June 2001, eight vehicles have crashed into buildings on the 100 block of South Washington, Hinsdale Deputy Police Chief Mark Wodka said.
Steinway Piano Gallery, at 120 S. Washington, was the most recent target.
A red Honda Civic, driven by an 83-year-old Hinsdale man trying to park in one of the diagonal spaces on the west side of the street, drove over the curb and onto the sidewalk, striking the piano store at about 11 a.m. Feb. 21.
The damage was minor, said the store manager Diane Duncan. The man backed his car up and off the sidewalk before the police arrived.
The man told police his engine had malfunctioned, Wodka said.
Then two days later, at about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 23, Duncan was sitting at her desk talking to a customer who had just bought a piano.
Suddenly, there was a noise that sounded like an explosion, said Andree Larsen, who was working in the store.
A car, trying to park in the spot next to the one where the Civic had parked, crashed through the business’ wood and glass doors, sending glass flying, Larsen said.
The car, a Lexus, came within 18 inches of hitting one of the pianos in the store. Glass flew toward Duncan’s desk, which was about 20 feet from where the car stopped.
The first thing Larsen heard Duncan say was, “Not again!”
A 64-year-old woman from Burr Ridge was behind the wheel of the Lexus.
“She was mortified,” Duncan said.
Wodka said the driver was not sure whether she had hit the accelerator instead of the brake, or simply failed to put the gearshift in park.
“She said she parked her car and the next thing she knew it was moving toward the building,” Wodka said.
Her car hit the store with enough force to break through the locked doors and crack the interior wall above the door.
No one was hurt in either accident. Nor was either driver ticketed.
“The officer has discretion whether to issue a citation,” Wodka said.
Duncan and Larsen said snow was piled on the curb, so that it almost formed a snowy ramp onto the sidewalk.
But cars have rushed over the curb even in warm weather.
Wodka believes it is because drivers going south on Washington are going uphill. So as they pull in to the parking spaces on their right they are accelerating, he said.
“That’s what’s unique about the street,” Wodka said. “It’s on an incline. (Drivers have to) accelerate into the spot.”
Other places, you are braking as you pull into a parking space.
That’s why the accidents all happen on the west side of Washington, Wodka said. On the east side, drivers are going north and downhill and therefore are hitting their brakes as they park, he said.