At the annual fall 600 S. Lombard block party on Nov. 3, we had it all — the kids excited to take over the street on their bikes, scooters, and skates; pancakes outside on a neighbor’s camp stove; the best main dish contest and dessert bake-off; the kids’ talent show; and songs and conversation around the firepit.
We also had a car barrel through the barricades about 11:45 p.m. at night.
The last four or five adults were talking by the fire, about to clean up the remaining skates and bikes left outside, when we saw a dark red sports-style car (maybe a Camaro?) stop at the corner of Lombard and Adams with its headlights shining at us. We all thought, of course, that the driver saw the barricades and the firepit and couldn’t possibly go through, but the driver accelerated and drove through the barricades, going at least 40-50 mph, swerving past our firepit, with all of us screaming and jumping to the curbs. Like one neighbor said, it was like being in a Bruce Willis movie.
The driver then drove past the barricade at Lombard and Jackson and turned right (west) at a high rate of speed. It was absolutely terrifying and underscores the need for more and better barricades at block parties — perhaps construction barricades with flashing lights. Just minutes earlier, children had been outside as well. Had we not all looked up so quickly and jumped to the curbs, this could’ve had a much different ending. It would’ve been great if we had been able to get a license plate number, but it all happened too fast.
Not sure if this has happened on any other Oak Park blocks, but two flimsy, plastic barricades aren’t enough to keep our families safe. In the past, we’ve put up ladders and parked cars at the ends of blocks and the police have asked us to move them.
We’ll be reaching out to our beat officer and village hall and urge you to do the same to make sure there is a lesser chance of something like this happening again and ruining one of the traditions that makes living in Oak Park so special.