A “severely disoriented” 84-year-old woman crashed her vehicle Thursday evening inside the Brookfield Zoo, according to Riverside police.
Authorities received 911 phone calls at 9:23 p.m. that the vehicle had crashed inside the east end of the zoo at First Avenue and 31st Street, police said.
When officers arrived, they found the vehicle in a grassy area south of Roosevelt Fountain, in the center of the zoo, police said. Riverside paramedics evaluated the woman, but she declined medical treatment.
She was cited for driving on a sidewalk and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
The woman had driven past the gate into the zoo from the South Gate entrance on Golf Road, which is adjacent to Riverside Brookfield High School, police said.
After driving in, she crashed into a Holiday Magic setup and pole that was in a pedestrian walkway area, police said. No one was hurt.
The 84-year-old driver told police that she was trying to get to Ogden Avenue and was confused. She had originally been stopped by zoo police, but when an officer walked up to her vehicle, it rolled into a large concrete post.
Officers drove the woman home, and her vehicle had to be towed away. Drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash, police said.
Authorities said she has had a few traffic run-ins with Riverside police over the last several months.
Police said they’ve requested that the Illinois Secretary of State’s office evaluate her driving privileges, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“I am very grateful this crash did not involve any visitors to the zoo,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said. “Without a doubt, we avoided tragedy here.”