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Car Drives Into Playground; 11 Hurt

June 2, 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. Eleven people were injured, three seriously.

The car went through a fence and across a playground at the Robert Fulton elementary school on the city’s South Side, Fire Department spokesman Will Knight said.

Four children and seven other people were injured, including three children who were seriously hurt and taken to trauma centers, Knight said.

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

The driver, a 22-year-old man, was in custody. The incident appeared to be accidental but the investigation was continuing and charges were still a possibility, police Cmdr. John Killackey said.

``He was yelling out he couldn’t stop,″ Killackey said.

He said police would give the driver toxicology tests to see if he had been drinking or taking drugs.

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

Theresa Jett, the mother of two children at the school, said her second-grade son was taking part in the assembly.

Shaking and in tears, she said, ``I just hope that the little boy that got run over ... God be with him.″

A 4-year-old boy was in serious condition at the University of Chicago Hospitals, spokesman John Easton said. Several other people were brought to Holy Cross Hospital, where a 3-month-old girl was in fair condition.

Paul Vallas, head of the Chicago school system, said a crisis intervention team was on the scene offering counseling to students and parents.

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