Update 9:15 a.m.: A five-car accident on Dempster Street just west of Wesley Avenue that happened around 8:30 this morning left one driver with what are described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott says the accident occurred when a car headed northbound on Wesley crossed into the path of a car driving westbound on Dempster.

The second car, Parrott says, went out of control because of the impact, striking the other vehicles.

Several police and fire units were on the scene and one person was transported to St. Francis Hospital by paramedics.

Parrott says it’s expected that the northbound driver will be issued a traffic citation for failure to yield the right of way.

Dempster was blocked by the accident from Asbury to Ashland avenues and Wesley from Wilder to Greenwood streets for part of the morning rush hour.

Top: Three of the five cars involved in the crash on Dempster this morning.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Wesley Avenue Interstate

    I have been a resident on the 1000 block of Wesley for thirty years.  Each year the traffic on Wesley becomes worse than the previous year.  The quiet residential street becomes the "go to" high speed bypass for drivers not patient with the pace of traffic on Asbury, particularly during morning and evening rush hours.  I have wondered as cars whiz past me in front of my house going 50 MPH, or more, how long it will take before a serious accident occurs or a child is injured.  Hopefully, the City Traffic Engineer will look into this and consider alternatives to what has become the Central Evanston Traffic By Pass. 

    1. Speeding in Evanston

      Good luck getting notice on this issue.  We fought to get noticed for 18-wheel trucks and both car and truck speeding on Oakton for 5 years before we accomplished anything.  Regarding trucks, after more than 2 years of complaining about the deterioration of the street and EVERY resident with cracking walls and some with breaking windows (dependent on where you lived and how bad the street was in front of your home), we were told that Traffic was going to put up an 'end truck route' sign that would eliminate trucks using our street since it is not a truck route east of Dodge.  The sign went up approximately 4 months after they told us we would get it.  Giant trucks ignored the signage and continued to use our street.  I should note that in addition to breaking windows and cracking walls, one owner's chimney was breaking loose from his home and he did not even live right on Oakton, but was on a side street a few doors down (people living on South Boulevard are able to feel trucks shaking their homes as trucks drive down Oakton).  When we complained that trucks continued to use our street, we were told that enforcement couldn't be done because we needed to first designate truck routes.  That took another 2+ years to get done.  During that time, speeding became an issue – cars and 18-wheelers doing anywhere between 38 and 45 MPH on our 20 MPH School Zone street.  Complaints were lodged over and over by residents and cops started monitoring our street.  At that time and numerous times since, we have been told that it costs the City to ticket people because they "always go to court to fight the ticket and it is always thrown out" so, any cop sitting in court is unable to patrol and that is a cost to us.  So we requested a lowered speed limit so that when people were going 40 MPH on the streeet, it would be a lot less likely to be thrown out of court.  After years of requests, resident complaints and fighting, we finally got the speed limit lowered to 25 MPH permanently in early summer 2012, but because Traffic has not bothered to put up any signage, everyone still thinks the speed limit is 30, which means they should go 40.  There are THREE schools in a five block area of this street – two are elementary schools and one is a middle school.  There are entire blocks where residents that live on this street only have egress to/from their home from Oakton because there is no alley.  Try turning on a blinker, slowing down and pulling into one of our driveways around 6:00 PM on a weekday without someone honking at you or flipping you the bird or something equally obscene.  We have an 80 year-old neighbor who takes the bus everywhere.  She has a difficult time walking long distances, but cannot get off of the bus at the stop across from our home because you cannot walk across the street due to speeding traffic so she has to get off of the bus at Dodge/Dempster and walk with bags of groceries all the way to her home.  We can't even get a crosswalk put in because we are so close to the school which doesn't want to fund another crossing guard and feel they would have to due to the proximity of the crosswalk to their property.

      Until our traffic division realizes that there is a speeding problem in Evanston at large – primarily people from Chicago and other suburbs passing through to get to another destination because they are ALLOWED to get through Evanston fast, we are going to have five car pile-ups on Dempster, and three car accidents on Ridge where cars are actually flipped over on their side.  All of our major artery streets will be speedways and residents will be constantly harassed and we will see pedestrians being hit.  Until our Traffic Diviision implements levels of traffic smoothing throughout all of Evanston and we become known as the city that doesn't mess around with speeding and scofflaws (much as we have built the reputation with parking tickets), we are going to have this problem.  This is not a problem specific to any one street or area.  We all suffer it together.  In the years since Oakton neighbors began our campaign to fix issues, we have heard from many Evanstonians all over town about how bad speeding is in their neck of the woods.  We need to band together and demand that our traffic division and our police work together on traffic smoothing and enforcement.  

      Regarding the accident at Demptster and Wesley, I don't give a pass to the guy that was crossing Dempster on Wesley, but I would like to know how fast the driver on Dempster was going, as well as the other three cars that were hit – talking to any resident on that street west of Asbury will give you an earful on how disasterous the speeding is over there.  To hit a car in front of you and then continue on to take out three additional cars who are all supposed to be doing 30 MPH (the speed limit over there) is quite a feat.  I only bring up the thought because there are many points to think about before laying blame and it isn't always 100% clear-cut.


  2. Wesley


    Wesley is the "official" Asbury bypass.  Not only do cars speed, but large commercial vehicles, especially large trailer trucks from construction sites use Wesley to avoid the lights at Asbury.  The street surface is a mess. We have witnessed numerous accidents and at least one death. Cars have wound up on people's lawns.

  3. Traffic

    Speeding is one issue. Compounding the problem is the weight of the heavy trucks that not only impacts the road surface, but it undermines the concrete sub base. That results in big floating slabs of concrete that resonate when heavy trucks go over them, making the houses shake as in a minor earthquake.

    Speeding is a constant problem. People doing that and using their cellphones only compounds the safety problem.

    Then you have people stopping at the crosswalk signs, even when there are no pedestrians.

    Of course all of this wll go away when we have bike lanes.

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