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Taste of Chicago Witness: Fest ATV Reversed Over Woman Sitting in Grass

By Josh McGhee | July 13, 2013 7:45am | Updated on July 13, 2013 1:56pm
 The spot where a witness said he saw an ATV driver back over two people at the Taste of Chicago Friday.
The spot where a witness said he saw an ATV driver back over two people at the Taste of Chicago Friday.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

GRANT PARK — Two people remained hospitalized Saturday after a private contractor working at the Taste of Chicago struck them while backing up an all-terrain vehicle Friday night, officials said.

The two were hit by the ATV, which had been collecting trash at the festival, at 7:15 p.m., officials said. The driver of the ATV had reversed the ATV before striking the two, said Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman.

One person was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious to critical condition, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. Another person was hospitalized in serious condition.

It appeared the driver didn't realize he had put the ATV in reverse, a Taste of Chicago booth manager said Saturday. The manager said he witnessed the crash on the south side of Jackson Boulevard between Lake Shore Drive and Columbus Drive.

He "was at a full stop and floored it not knowing it was in reverse," said the manager, who declined to give his name. "He looked as surprised as everyone else once he started going backward."

As people jumped out of the way of the ATV as it rolled through the grass, a woman sitting with her family was run over, the manager said. A man was also hit.

Bystanders rushed to the woman, and an emergency workers quickly arrived. The woman had visible tire tracks on her legs, the manager said.

Officials could not confirm the age or gender of the victims. The driver, who worked for a private contractor, was not injured. He was cited by police, Estrada said.

City officials overseeing the Taste refused to comment.

Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, would not identify the private company involved. She referred questions to police and fire officials.

Police did not immediately have an estimate of the size of the crowd at the time of the incident. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters played at the Petrillo Music Shell Friday night.