Lawndale hit-and-run crash sends car into West Side church; building hit for 4th time, pastor says

ByJasmine Minor and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Chicago hit-and-run crash sends car into West Side church: CPD
The Sanctuary of Deliverance Church of God in Christ church told ABC7 this is the fourth time a car has crashed into their building.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are looking for the hit-and-run driver involved in a crash that damaged a West Side church Wednesday night.

The Sanctuary of Deliverance Church of God in Christ church told ABC7 this is the fourth time a car has crashed into their building. The pastor said they've done the best they can, adding steel, cement and concrete, but that still wasn't enough to stop the damage.

"I got a collection that I'm not proud about," pastor Steve Stewart said. "Here's one of the symbols, this is a symbol of a Honda Accord."

Stewart said the collection is what's left over from the multiple car crashes into his church, such as crashes that happened in February and December last year.

In the most recent crash, CPD said the driver of a gray Dodge Durango hit a black Impala about 10:50 p.m. Wednesday in the 4100-block of West Harrison Street in the city's Lawndale neighborhood, causing the Impala to hit the church.

Both vehicles appeared to sustain serious damage in the crash.

One of the cars left a hole in the media room at the church. It's a room someone is normally sitting in.

"Thank God we weren't in service that night," Stewart said. "It really would've impacted that person if they had been sitting here."

The driver of the Durango ran from the scene, and Chicago fire crews took two people from the Impala to Mt. Sinai hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Chicago police said.

A Chicago crash sent a car into a Harrison Street church Wednesday night. Now, CPD is searching for the Lawndale hit-and-run driver.

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The pastor said someone getting hurt is a fear he lives with as this is the fourth time it's happened in two years.

He said in past years, the church has asked the city to put in stop lights and speed bumps, but that didn't happen. They put up barriers to try to help the problem, but once again, they'll have to rebuild the entire wall.

"We really want to help the community and give back to the community, but at the rate that is costing me for to continue to rebuild the wall, because I can't keep going to my insurance company costs," Stewart said.

Still, he said he has hope the city will lend a hand, so the church can focus on their main mission of giving back to the community and count their blessings in the meantime.

CPD did not immediately provide any description of the suspected driver in the lastest hit-and-run crash.

"This destroyed a lot of equipment, but things are replaceable, life is not," Stewart said.

The church has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to help them recover from the crash.

The Chicago Department of Transportation issued a statement Thursday about traffic safety measures at the interwesction where the crash happened:

"In determining the need for new traffic control measures, including traffic signals, CDOT follows the federal guidelines established in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Our 2022 traffic study of the intersection at W. Harrison Street and S. Keeler Avenue concluded that this location does not meet the federal requirements for the installation of a traffic signal in part due to the fact that Harrison Street dead-ends two blocks west of the intersection and does not meet the vehicle volume thresholds required for the installation of a traffic signal.

CDOT has taken several steps recently to enhance safety at the intersection and help reduce crashes. Last year, CDOT installed all-way stop signs at Harrison and Keeler, requiring vehicles to stop from all directions. CDOT also added wrap-around curb extensions on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection. These extensions are designed to improve sightlines, reduce turning speeds, and narrow the crossing distance for pedestrians.

CDOT will continue working with the Alderperson and the community to address ongoing concerns related to speeding and crashes in the area and is considering additional traffic calming measures, such as speed humps, to further enhance safety."

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