Driver sought after cab crashes into Glendale Heights home

GLENDALE HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- A cab crashed through the side of a house in 1800-block of Gregory Avenue in west suburban Glendale Heights around 1 a.m. Monday, pinning homeowner Shawn Grisch, 53, under a wall before the driver fled the scene.

"I thought it was a dream," Grisch said, "then I'd seen the guy sitting and looking at me. I couldn't see his face and all that, it was pretty dark. The only thing that was lighting everything in the bedroom was his headlights."

Grisch was pinned underneath a treadmill and debris from the wall that was pushed in by the cab. He says the driver didn't move for at least five minutes while he asked him for help.

"I tried to ask for help," Grisch said, "and he just sat there and stared at me."

Emergency crews took the Grisch to Adventist Glen Oaks Hospital where he was treated for his injuries, including several broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a torn spleen.

Grisch says the driver tried to put the taxi in reverse but it didn't work, so he got out of the cab and ran. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male wearing a white t-shirt, about 5 ft. 9 in. tall with a stocky build. Police found alcohol in the taxi, but did not confirm whether the driver was drinking. They do not believe the cab was stolen.

Police are working with Flat Rate Cab Company in Lombard, which owns the vehicle, to name and find the driver.

"They have identified a person who was assigned that vehicle," said Deputy Police Chief Steve Ewoldt, "but we have not identified that person as the driver."

Toni Diperte, owner of Flat Rate Cab Company, says the driver assigned to the vehicle has worked there since July and has never had any problems. She says the driver has not been on duty since Saturday morning.

"I have no idea how something like this could happen," Diperte said. "I try my best to hire some of the best people."

PHOTOS: Cab crashes into Glendale Heights home

Bloomingdale Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Richard Kurka said the damage to the home can be repaired. The village building department looked at the structural integrity of the house and said the load-bearing walls do not appear to be damaged. The cab was pulled from the building and the exterior walls were boarded up. The occupants will be relocated until repairs are complete.
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