HYDE PARK — Pedestrians on the 5400 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard held their ears as a 53-ton excavator lumbered up the block on Friday night emitting an ear-piercing screech as its metal treads ground against the blacktop.
Two police cars circled the huge piece of construction equipment from American Demolition as the driver slowly crawled north on the residential street smoking a cigarette in the cab.
People waiting at bus stops held their ears and a line of buses and cars slowly crawled along behind the excavator for the 20-minute trip north to Harold Washington Park.
The sidewalk trembled next to the excavator as it crushed a signpost and came to a rest on the sidewalk at the park at the corner of East 53rd Street and South Hyde Park Boulevard.
After shutting down the digger, the driver, who did not identify himself, leapt from the cab and started chatting with police.
When asked why he was driving the piece of heavy machinery down a residential street at 7:20 p.m. on a Friday, he said, "Wrong place."
He could be overheard explaining to police that there was confusion about where the excavator was to be delivered.
Police on the scene declined to comment.
The driver got into the back of one of two squad cars on the scene and both cars left.
Construction work is being done on a playground at the park, but it is unclear whether the machinery was part of that project.