Minivan crashes into Evanston McDonald’s

Two people suffered minor injuries in the crash, Evanston police said.

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A van crashed into a McDonald’s restaurant at 1100 Howard St. in Evanston, Thursday morning, May 16, 2019.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A minivan crashed into a McDonald’s restaurant Thursday in north suburban Evanston.

The crash happened about 6:50 a.m. at the McDonald’s at Howard Street and Oakley Avenue, according to Evanston Fire Department Division Chief Paul Polep.

The 47-year-old Chicago woman driving the minivan was trying to turn from Oakley onto westbound Howard when she lost control, police said. The van went through the parking lot and hit the McDonald’s, coming to a rest in the dining area.

The driver and a 58-year-old Chicago man who was inside the McDonald’s were taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to Evanston police. The woman had suffered a leg injury while the man suffered minor lacerations.

Two McDonald’s employees were “shaken up” after the crash and were also taken to hospitals to be checked out, Polep said.

The minivan started to leak gas into the restaurant after the crash, police said. Fire officials responded to contain the gas leak and the McDonald’s remains closed Thursday afternoon for structural assessment, repairs and clean-up work.

The driver was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, police said. She was also issued a ticket for a local ordinance violation for causing damage to a city tree.

Traffic on Howard Street was shut down between Ridge and Asbury Avenues, according to Evanston police. The street was reopened in both directions shortly after 9 a.m.

Several employees of the restaurant, who asked not to be named, could be seen standing on the corner as firefighters worked nearby. 

One woman, an employee of McDonald’s of seven years who asked not to be named, was working in the kitchen at the time of the crash.

”It was a loud boom,” she said. “But nobody was injured too bad.”

She ran outside to find the red van in the restaurant’s lobby. She added that by the time she rounded the drive-thru corner, she found the van’s driver was standing outside the vehicle, crying. 

A cashier who has worked at the McDonald’s for three years said firefighters told the workers that engineers would visit the site to evaluate when they could reopen the restaurant. 

When asked if she was worried about her job, that worker said, “What can you do? Nothing.”

Another vehicle crashed into the same McDonald’s on May 3, according to employees, police and fire officials. A window could be seen boarded up with wood from the previous incident. 

“Why does this keep happening here?” the cashier said. “That’s a good question.”

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