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New driver plows into cars on Sherman

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Witnesses say an SUV driving north on Sherman Avenue near Simpson Street in Evanston plowed into several other vehicles and hit a lamp post early this evening.

"I heard a crash and ran outside, when I saw what was happening, I just stood there screaming," said Jane Gordan, who was in her apartment near the intersection when the incident happened just before 6 p.m.

Witnesses say an SUV driving north on Sherman Avenue near Simpson Street in Evanston plowed into several other vehicles and hit a lamp post early this evening.

"I heard a crash and ran outside, when I saw what was happening, I just stood there screaming," said Jane Gordan, who was in her apartment near the intersection when the incident happened just before 6 p.m.

Witnesses said the driver, who they believed was a Northwestern University student, had borrowed the black Isuzu Trooper earlier in the day from a fellow student.

"He came down the street lurching and careening and running into everything," said Jane Gordan’s husband Neil. "I saw these two young guys running and yelling — apparently he was aiming for people."

Witnesses said the driver then stopped the car, put it in reverse and drove in the directon of another resident who’d been yelling at him from his lawn, smashing that man’s car.

Witnesses said the driver then jumped out of the Isusu, lay on the grass and put his hands behind his back, apparently waiting for police to take him into custody.

Officers at the scene declined comment on the incident and a police spokesman could not be reached this evening.

Greg Sultan, whose red Toyota, parked outside his Sherman Avenue home, was hit, said he’s lived there 23 years and still plans to park his car on the street. "It seems pretty unlikely anything like this could ever happen again," Sultan said.

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Update 11 a.m. Monday, July 19: Evanston Police Commander Tom Guenther now says police have determined the incident was caused by a new driver who apparently got the pedals mixed up, and that they are convinced he wasn’t actually trying to hit anybody.

Guenther says the driver, Aamir Habib, 20, of 2307 Sheridan Road, also showed no evidence of having consumed any intoxicants or illegal substances. He’s now facing multiple traffic citations.

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Photos and story information from Evanston Now reader and WNUR Radio reporter Mallory Gafas.

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