Evanston police say a 7-year-old girl crossing Oakton Street at Barton Avenue was struck by a car about 4:10 p.m. Thursday.

The girl was taken to St. Francis Hospital by fire department paramedics where she was treated for multiple bruises and scrapes and a possible broken collarbone.

Police say multiple witnesses saw the incident and said the driver of the car, which was westbound on Oakton, had been traveling at a high rate of speed through the school zone adjacent to Oakton Elementary School.

The girl reportedly was crossing the street with her brother in a marked crosswalk and was thrown into the air by the impact with the car.

Police say the driver of the car, Yuriy Velikov, 50, of the 3600 block of Salem Walk in Northbrook, has been issued citations for negligent driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Crossing guard needed

    We've been lobbying for a crossing gaurd at this intersection for quite a while, after witnessing MANY near misses.  The answer was that there are crossing gaurds at Oakton & Ridge and Oakton & Asbury so those are the intersection that kids should use to cross.  The reality is, not all kids walk to school with parents and even if parents instruct kids not to use the Barton/Oakton crosswalk, they sometimes do.  Even if a child is escorted by a parent, cars consistently ignore or don't honor the "Stop for Pedestrian" signage– which arguably could be made clearer. 

    Times are tight so I was thinking since the district is able to find 300k to spend on an iPad pilot program that doesn't yet exist, maybe we could get one of those iPads and find a crossing gaurd app for it.

    1. Unsafe getting to Oakton and Chute no matter the intersection

      I visited the child last night in the hospital, and was thankful to be able to speak to her.  This accident could have been much worse.  Something needs to be done to protect our children!

      For those of us who live north of Oakton and/or east of Ridge have no safe way of walking to school.  My older daughter crosses Ridge, Oakton and Asbury to get to school.  Becasue she is in band and student council, she often goes to school before crossing guards are even on duty.  For that reason, my husband usually drives her.  I worry about her walking home everyday, and often we pick her up on that end as well.

      Even when we walk our children, we are still not safe.  My husband and younger daughter were almost struck while crossing the at the Oakton/Ridge intersection.  They were crossing on a walk signal and with a crossing guard.  A car came within inches of striking my daughter, while trying to turn the corner.  

      Our children are not safe!  This should be of concern to our entire community. 

  2. speed bumps and schools

    Speed bumps on ALL roads around the perimeters of schools.

    I don't really care if it inconveniences anybody.

    1. “Citations”?

      "Citations"??  How about attemped murder.  Drivers are so oblivious to marked crosswalks, often so busy talking on cell phones and texting.  I don't know what the solution is — better signage?  Flashing lights?

      I do like the signs in the middle of the street — those get my attention.

      Glad the little girl wasn't hurt more seriously.

    2. Speed bumps

      I totally agree with you. We need speed bumps in areas around school zones.

  3. Re: speed bumps and schools

    I wholeheartedly agree RacerX, I live near oakton and barton and regardless of the stop for pedestrian sign, many many people don't stop. I don't know if they just don't see the kids or what, but that stop sign is not enough. In addition there are crossing guards at Oakton/Ridge and Oakton/Asbury, I'd like to suggest in light of this horrible accident that a crossing guard be posted at Oakton/Barton too.

  4. Authorities need to take action

    We hope she makes a full and quick  recovery. Residents of this neighborhood have campaigned for years to make this crosswalk safer, but the City and District have done next to nothing.

  5. Thank you Alds. Wilson, Fiske, Braithwaite, Holmes and Wynne

    Wilson, Fiske, Braithwaite, Holmes, and Wynne all voted against measures to slow traffic down on this stretch.

    This area is LONG known as a speed zone.  Unfortunately, the aldermanic lack of concern has resulted in an unfortunate accident.  Hopefully this will get these people to wake up and inspire Ald. Burrus to re-introduce her plan to reduce the speed limit on Oakton.

    1. Speed limit

      The comment above assumes that lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour 24 hours a day on Oakton Street, as proposed by Alderman Burrus, would have made a difference in avoiding yesterday's accident.

      However, the speed limit in school zones is already 20 miles per hour on school days when children are present.

      Yesterday was a school day. Children were present in the cross walk. And a driver alleged to be speeding still hit the child.

      Background on the issue:

      Oakton speed limit cut proposed

      Sign responds to Oakton speeding complaints

      Burrus loses bid for lower Oakton speed limit

      1. School Zone – Outdated “on school days….”

        Bill – Having been the person who walked out and collected all of the signatures for the petition to lower the speed limit permanenty (every house that opened their door signed the petition and had plenty to say about how out of control things had gotten), I know firsthand how angry people are in our neighborhood over the lack of oversight that allowed the behaviour on our side of town to get so out of control.  While you are correct that a speed limit change would have had no effect on this situation, please make an effort to understand that people in this neighborhood have been complaining of speeding for so long that they are seeing red now that a child has actually been hit.  Fear of just this type of thing happening is exactly why residents' started complaining. 

        As I said in an earlier post, Coleen Burrus has done a lot to bring attention to this matter and there has been a visible slowdown in traffic speed.  We do need to continue being vigilent in all of our artery school and park zones where the scofflaw irresponsible drivers continue to drive fast whenever they do not have a slower driver in front of them… especially on the weekend late afternoons and evenings.  Our responsible behaviour does have the effect of causing others to act responsibly. 

        Incidentally, the state law of "20 MPH School Zone on School Days When Children are Present" should be changed to 20 MPH period.  Schools use their facilities and playfields around the clock now – weekends and holidays as well as into the evening hours (as late as 8:30 PM!) during the week.  Our state school zone tag line of "On School Days When Children Are Present" is outdated and should be updated. 

        "Safety first!  Even when we are in a hurry…"
        : )

    2. Irrelevant

      "Aldermanic lack of concern has resulted in an unfortunate accident"

      I'm sure the aldermen you mentioned don't appreciate you laying the blame for this incident at their feet.

      Bill is right. What is needed is enforcement.

      Speeding in a school zone is a mandatory suspension of license. For hitting this child, I doubt the prosecutor would be likely to commute it down to a regular speeding charge.

      As someone who was cited by a traffic division officer when I moved to Evanston for going 5mph over the limit on Ridge in a school zone and was facing a license suspension for it, I came to appreciate the necessity of looking especially hard through trees and the distraction of dozens of other signs for school speed zone signs. Because I'd been driving for years and years and never had a speeding ticket in my life, I was fortunate to have been cut a break. Now I pay rapt attention to them and won't push that speed limit even a mile over to 21. 

      20mph or 30mph, if a child walks out into the middle of the street from between cars that are often parked street-side on Oakton after-hours, the odds for that child's safety are not good. Unfortunately despite doing the right thing these pedestrians were still hit.

      There are a lot of factors at play in pedestrian/car accidents but the one you mentioned has nothing to do with it.

      1. Aldermen do very little to tame the auto

        This is part of a larger problem on the council.  There are numerous places all over the city where the streets are designed in such a way where walking is hazardous.

        Just a few: Central-Gross Point; Central-Greenbay; Emerson-Greenbay; Emerson-Ridge; Dempster-Dodge; Oakton between Hartrey and McCormick; Howard between Hartrey and McCormick.

        All of these intersections are designed primarily for the automobile making other forms of mobility difficult, if not hazardous.

        The reason they are like this is because of lack of action by the council.

        By denying efforts to calm traffic they are culpable in these types of events. There are many proven ways to increase pedestrian safety such as lowering speed limits, colored pedestrian crossings, pedestrian-only signals, bump-outs, etc….

        These techniques are extremely inexpensive and effective.  The fact that we don't have this infrastructure suggests that the council has priorities other than safety. 

  6. Speeding on Oakton – Longtime Issue

    I would like to preface my statement by saying I am so very glad this child was not killed.

    Having an address on this street, I have seen and regularly complained about the lack of safety in this 5 block stretch of school zone.  I can only say thank you to Alderman Coleen Burrus for her attention to this matter and her efforts to bring a level of safety back.  A LOT of vehicles are going much slower than they were when we, the Oakton neighbors, started our complain campaign over 3 years ago, but there are still the scofflaws that drive 40 and 50 MPH down our street before/after rush hour and on Saturday/Sunday.  During these times, Chute playfield is being used for sporting events, as is James Park, which means the street is heavily populated with children.  Unfortunately, nothing seems to deter these irresponsible personality types.  Not only are they a menace to our children, but they hassle and bully other drivers who attempt to obey the law.  My neighbors and I have complained of people tailgating and honking as we drove down Oakton.  When residents slow to turn into driveways or onto side streets, these drivers make rude gestures (giving the bird) and/or yell epithets out of their open windows as they passed. 

    Representative Antonio Munoz is attempting to pass a bill that will allow Chicago's collar suburbs and Cook County's collar counties to implement speed cameras in school zones.  I wholeheartedly support this bill simply because it seems some people just cannot police themselves so they have to be forced to do the right thing.  Should this bill pass, I hope Evanston decides to take advantage of the ability to install speed cameras in school zones and do so.  The alternative is to put in a few STOP signs so that people are forced to slow down instead of driving a long stretch of street as fast as they can possibly go.

    The problem of speeding in school zones is not limited to Oakton Street.  Oakton Neighbors would like Main Street neighbors to know we are fuly aware of their similar issue in their school zone and around Robert Crown.  We support whatever measure(s) it may take to resolve the issues in ALL of Evanston's "Artery Street" school zones at ALL TIMES when children are present.


  7. Simple enforcement issue

    God's speed in that little girl's recovery but the proposed reforms on this board are a gross overaction and a perfect example of what's wrong with government in this city, state and country. 

    Vigorous police enforcement of the current speed limit (and cell phone / texting bans) will not completely eliminate the risk but will reduce it as much as any of the proposed solutions above.  People who regularly travel through the area will inevitably change their behavior to avoid getting tickets and risk will be largely contained to people unfamiliar with the area. 

    The last thing we need in Evanston are more signs, regulations, lights, meetings or government employees in the form of additional crossing guards.  Vistors to my house in Evanston are astonished that we litter such a beautiful city with so many signs and we simply can't afford new regulations, meetings, lights or employees given the huge regulatory and tax burden already on Evanston homeowners.

    We also do not need to install cameras which are costly and a governmental intrusion to some to degree into our private lives.

    Let's use some common sense once and avoid yet another reactionary and expensive solution to something that could be solved much more simply.

    Thanks and slow down on Oakton!

    1. Common sense

      If only common sense was more common! Let's not turn this into an ideological issue; after all, police are government employees, too. More enforcement will definitely help and so will a crossing guard. Its a simple solution that's worth the minor expense.

  8. Another reason Oakton is tricky for drivers

    This has probably been raised before, but one thing that makes Oakton a challenge for drivers is that there are three school zones (Dawes, Chute, and Oakton) in a relatively short stretch. Just when drivers feel like they can speed up again, they have to slow way down. Parked cars and trees also create visual distraction/"noise".  (I don't agree that too much or too little signage is also a contributing factor.)

    I live close to Chute, off Florence just a few blocks north of Oakton. I'd love to see a crosswalk from Florence to the other side of Oakton, as there is no place to cross safely between Florence and Dodge (short of Dodge). But I recognize that it wouldn't solve the problem of drivers speeding or just plain not seeing pedestrians. 

    Like other posters, I tend to think that stricter enforcement (by "live" police) around these school zones would probably go a long way in helping folks remember to slow down.

  9. Better City Priorities Needed

    Maybe if the city would spend half the 2mm it spent playing kiss*ss with Trader Joe's, it could upgrade school zone crosswalks. Improvements to the walkways may have saved this girl the pain she will undergo and it may save others in the future. Trader Joe's will never come close to paying back our tax dollars.

    The driver that hit the girl will end up paying big time but the truth of the matter is that most of the car/pedestrian encounters are not the fault of the car. It appears that most parents in Evanston do not teach their children to cross the streets in a safe manner. This is apparent on weekends when streets like Oakton lined with cars and parents and children are seen running in between the cars to cross the streets.

    I wish the young lady a speedy recovery.

      1. There are probably plenty of ideas

        other than speed cameras.

        – a yellow blinking caution light that changes to a red blinking light when someone starts to enter the crosswalk.

        – Reflective strips in the crosswalk.

        – Illuminated speed signs that can be used when there is school functions that occur after 4 PM on week days and on weekends. I say after 4 PM because the state law school speed zone sign are only in effect between 7 AM – 4 PM on school days when children are visible present in the immediate area.

        I'm sure there are many other ideas that would probably work as well or better.

        I am sure that everybody knows that Oakton, Main, and Howard already have very bad traffic flows, especially in the morning and late afternoon with traffic backed-up 1/4 – 1/2 mile. Lowering the speed limit to 20 MPH on a 24/7 basis will only make the traffic problems much worse. There has got to be a better way.

        There would be money available to do things, if the city had not wasted 2mm on Trader Joe’s.

  10. school speed zones

    when our son was a junior at eths, he was looking out the window and saw a classmate being struck and killed by a car on dodge.   it was a rather searing experience for him, not to mention for the family of the dead boy.   there were teachers present when the young man was struck.  they later testified in court (i happened to be in the courtroom on another matter) that the driver had swerved while going at a very fast rate and hit the student as he was starting across the then-marked crosswalk.  they also reported that the driver got out of the car, walked around to the front, and loudly asked, "who's going to pay for my car".  the judge hearing the case asked the state's attorney why they were not asking  for a harsher sentence than suspension of license, a fine and some course work since the end result of the accident was death.  they said it was not warranted.

    not long after, the city posted 20mph-school-zone-from-9am-to-7pm signs on dodge from lake to church, and from church to just west of the athletic field.  i live nearby, and regularly drive that way.  because of the suffering of that family, and our son's witnessing of the tragedy, and because of the speed limit, i make sure to go exactly 20mph whenever i hit that area.

    and what have i found over the years?  cars routinely pass me on the right or even on the left at 35-40 mph, looking at me as though i were a crazy person.  rarely i will be behind a car also doing 20mph.  but what i have never seen is a traffic policeman writing a speeding ticket.  i have not seen a police car on dodge or church, except when school is letting out.  it would be instructive to see the traffic department's statistics on the number of speeding tickets written on those two streets during the last several years.

    so a 20mph zone for much of the day seems to be honored more in the breach than in the observance, to quote some literary person. 

    also, there is a stretch of church and nearby streets in morton grove near the forest preserve that has 25 mph signs in that residential neighborhood. when i go that way, i make sure to go exactly 25, as i have numerous friends and neighbors who have been given speeding tickets in that area.  it has become known as a speed trap, and it seems people generally observe the limit.

    so until cultural change occurs, and drivers become more careful and considerate,  i would say regular enforcement might be the key.

    mary brugliera



  11. We need a crossing guard asap!

    I live a block away from this intersection and we cross here daily. Very rarely do cars stop, I have yelled out to cars, held my hand up, still no cars stop. I even saw a police officer zoom by as he said "oops" when he saw us standing there. A crossing guard is needed. We had to fight for the signage and they refused the one in the middle of the road last year. Within a couple of hours on Friday, one was installed. Children are going to be crossing at this intersection no matter what and a crossing guard is the obvious answer.  I will be shocked and disgusted if a guard isn't hired as soon as possible.

    1. Patrol Boys

      Why not train and use patrol boys (or girls). I realize this would require the approval of parents. This is what they did years ago and it worked fine. It builds character and pride. I know many parents would object but they would be conceding that their children are not as capable and mature as their counterparts from 40 or more years ago.

      Let them train with the on-duty crossing guards.

      1. I agree with OneSmartGuy

        I agree wholeheartedly. When I was in 6th grade, we had to serve as crossing guards for our elementary. We were stationed in pairs at a busy intersection on which involved a major truck route. We were taught what to do to escort others across the intersection safely. It cost the school nothing and gave us a sense of importance. We showed up for about a half hour and stayed there until school started (we were allowed to be 5 mins. late to class).

  12. Public Safety and Public Officials

    How really concerned is the city of Evanston about public safety of children?  Wally and Friends during the budget hearing were trying to outsource the whole crossing guard program.  This is going to save us money?   We pay the guards about $8 a hour and no benefits. ( part time council members get $17,000 year in medical benefits)   

    Whats there really agenda, the crossing gurard are absent, they have to use police officiers or the ticket writers to fill in.  The management does not want to deal with this issue, so they are going to make the private company provide subsitutes. Ofcourse why can't Wally and friends do that now? 

    Burris and others want the schools to pay for this program, by the way. So are they going to stop it? The public street belong to the city not the school districts as far as I know. ( we pay for it no matter what )

    Public Safety or having money to waste on their pet projects, like selling lake front property to aprivate interest, how are these people concerned about public safety?

    ( one last item – some one else may know- making the speed limt 20 mph at all times may not be too effective since the police will still not be able to write tickets for small amounts over the limits , school zone maybe different – someone may correct me if I am wrong – but I have heard they will not write a ticket unless its 13mph over the limit in regular speed zone? The judge will throw them out.if they go to court)

  13. risk avoidance

    Why not avoid the risk completely and install a pedestrian bridge over Oakton and possibly a few other trouble-spots in Evanston?

  14. Cross Walk Signs need to be lit

    From what I understand, bump outs, like those at Dawes have already been in the works for the Barton/Oakton intersection as well as the Wesley/Oakton intersection.  The sooner these are constructed, the better.

    Though I think the bump-outs & cross walks & signs are helpful – on the other hand I wonder if they provide a false sense of security for kids & I was worried that something like this might happen.

    I've told my daughter who attends Chute & crosses at Wesley & Oakton that when there is no crossing guard, to exercise great care & not to cross until cars come to a complete stop.

    I think many people are not aware that it has been found by scientific studies, that until about the age of 10, children cannot properly judge the speed of approaching cars in conjunction with the timing needed to cross the street and that up to age 10, a child needs to be accompanied by an adult or mature teen when crossing the street.  With children w/ visual development delays, they may need assistance beyond age 10.

    Finally, at night-time I noticed I have a hard time seeing the cross walk signs at night on Main street by Washington School as well as on Oakton by Dawes, Oakton, & Chute schools.  I think the actual signs need to be lit (At Skokie Public Library the cross walk signs in the parking lot are lit & I believe are powered by a solar battery).

    In addition, at night, it is difficult to tell if someone is waiting to crosss.  I think better overhead lighting in these areas is needed.  If I was not from the area it would not quickly occur to me to take care in these areas, when it's dark, which is 5 pm during the winter.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *