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Car Drives Into Playground; 11 Hurt

June 3, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) _ With the driver screaming he couldn’t stop, a car drove into a school playground Friday as a crowd gathered for an awards assembly. At least 11 people were injured, mostly children.

Several remained hospitalized Friday night, including a 4-year-old boy in serious condition with a fractured skull.

The car went through a fence and across a playground at the Robert Fulton elementary school on the city’s South Side.

``He was coming real fast,″ witness Sandra Taylor said. ``It was like he wouldn’t stop or he couldn’t stop. I don’t know which one. Everybody was trying to get out the way but he was coming too fast.″

The driver, Lamont Prince, 22, was cited with four traffic violations and was being held for questioning, said police spokesman Edward Alonzo.

Prince was heard ``yelling out he couldn’t stop,″ said police Cmdr. John Killackey. He said police planned to run toxicology tests to see if Prince had been drinking or taking drugs. Witnesses also said Prince tried to flee but was apprehended by people at the scene.

More than an hour after the incident, yellow and blue chairs were scattered on their sides across the playground.

Bonnie Harris, a member of the school’s neighborhood parent patrol team, said one child had been dragged by the car and was still under it when it stopped. She said her son, his friend and two teachers lifted the front of the car to help free the child.

``God gave us the strength to lift that car up,″ Harris said. The driver ``certainly wasn’t trying to stop. It seemed like he was hitting the gas instead of hitting the brakes.″

There were conflicting reports from police and hospitals about how many people were injured and how many were children.

In addition to the 4-year-old boy in serious condition with a skull fracture and several cuts and bruises, a 4-year-old girl was in fair condition and was expected to be hospitalized overnight. Three other children were in good condition and a fourth was in fair condition.

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