www.redeyechicago.com/news/crime/chibrknews-8-injured-in-near-north-side-crash-20110521,0,5894667.story

redeyechicago.com

Crash ends photo shoot on Near North Side

By Liam Ford and William Lee

Tribune reporters

3:58 AM CDT, May 22, 2011

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Eight people, including several involved in a photo shoot depicting a wedding party, were injured when a city pickup truck hit a group of pedestrians on the Near North Side Saturday afternoon, officials said.

A vehicle struck the people -- at least one a child -- in a crash near Cedar and Rush streets about 12:20 p.m., said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

People dressed as members of a wedding party -- the bride, groom and a toddler -- posed for pictures on a corner when those three people and the photographer were all struck by a Ford F150 pickup truck, Mirabelli said.

A fire official said eight people were taken to various hospitals: four in critical-to-serious condition, two in serious-to-fair condition and two in fair-to-good condition.

Police reported seven people who were injured: a 34-year-old man and 25-year-old woman, both of whom went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital; a 58-year-old man, 23-year-old woman and 27-year-old man who went to St. Joseph's Hospital; a one-year-old girl who went to Children's Memorial Hospital; and a 27-year-old man who went to Advocate Illinos Masonic Medical Center.

The child was in good condition by about 2:30 p.m., while a woman in her mid-20s believed to be the child's caregiver was in very critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said.

A city Streets and Sanitation laborer driving a Loop-based pickup truck was involved in the crash, department spokesman Matt Smith said. The laborer was driving to empty garbage baskets and pick up stray debris.

A witness said it appeared the city pickup truck hit several people and one other vehicle, a silver SUV, pinning some people beneath one of the vehicles and also injuring the truck driver.

The Chicago Fire Department called an Emergency Medical Services Plan 1, which sends at least five ambulances to a scene, for the accident.

The witness said it appeared the photo shoot was going on near the intersection before the truck hit the group. One person was pinned under the truck and another appeared unconscious under another vehicle after the crash, and bystanders tried to lift at least one of the vehicles to get a person out from under, the witness said.

The driver of the truck also appeared to have been taken to a hospital by Fire Department ambulance, the witness said. Photos from the scene from another witness showed several people lying on the ground injured, and the airbag deployed in the truck.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene following the crash, with vehicles on Rush Street blocking traffic momentarily as ambulances tried to respond to the scene and bystanders tried to direct traffic away from the accident scene. Flowers from the photo shoot lay on the ground as people crowded around the scene to help or gawk.

In their initial transport to hospitals, Fire Department spokesman Richard Rosado said one critical-to-serious patient was taken to Children's Memorial Hospital; two critical-to-serious patients and one fair-to-good patient were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital; and one critical-to-serious patient was taken to Advocate Illinos Masonic Medical Center. One fair-to-good patient and two serious-to-fair patients were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital.

lford@tribune.com, wlee@tribune.com