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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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. Six cars wrecked

    Was Mr. Habib confused about the pedals in the SUV he borrowed? Whatever confusion he had, it did not prevent him from slamming into four cars, coming to a stop, putting the SUV into reverse, backing up, stopping, puting the SUV in drive, slamming into two more cars and taking direct aim at a man standing on the sidewalk. Mr. Habib has been released and is a free man. Are you confortable with that?

    1. Disbelief

      This is ridiculous. The police did a thorough investigation and decided that it was an accident. This publication changed its entire article to meet this new conclusion. Both of these sources are much more qualified than you to decide what his intentions were, and yet you cling to the ridiculous notion that his motives were malicious.

      You  make me sick. People like you are the reason that sensationalist journalism is such a problem in the media today.

      1. The Investigation

        First of all, I hope, and want very much to believe, that the police reached the correct conclusion and that Mr. Habib is innocent of any wrongful intent.  Unfortunately for Mr. Habib, the police did not do a thorough investigation, although the consistent statements of several eye witnesses should have led the police to do one.  For example, the police did not obtain a warrant to review the contents of Mr. Habib’s computer. If they had done so and found nothing to indicate that he had any intention of carrying out an act like the one he did on Saturday night, and if the police had conducted further interviews of both witnesses and associates of Mr. Habib, and then concluded that it was an accident, then Mr. Habib would be able to live his life in Evanston free of any suspicion that he acted intentionally. 

        Regarding sensationalism, surely this is the practice of reaching conclusions without first carefully investigating facts, considering alternative explanations and viewpoints, and thinking objectively about the issue.  What I am uncomfortable with is the fact this incident was determined to be an accident after an investigation done without sufficient care to account for the consistent statements of eyewitnesses.  If Mr. Habib is innocent, he deserves as much.  Sensationalism certainly is not asking for a careful consideration of an issue when you happen to like the perfunctory conclusion, even if my doing so has the unfortunate effect of making you sick.

        1. Disgusting

          This is just a kid who didn’t know how to drive properly, it seems fairly clear there was no malicious intent.  Get off your high horse and acknowledge that the police have far more important things to be doing than searching Mr. Habib’s computer and interrogating friends of his.  Just because his name is Habib and he is most likely Muslim that does not mean he wants to hurt you, it’s because of people like you that a mosque cannot be built near ground zero in New York.

  2. The mistake is clear that

    The mistake is clear that student is in trouble, what was the need to borrow a SUV of a fellow student, I dont understand, mean was that so important to borrow and drive a SUV and that too in to other peoples cars and trucks……. i guess he deserves a punsihment and he is in serious trouble

    Kevin

  3. I was directly affected by

    I was directly affected by this accident.  Regardless of intent, the consequence for such reckless behavior should be commisurate with the amount of time and effort I am expending trying to get insurance coverage for my totalled car, and replacing my car when insurance is not willing to fix it.  The cost to my family for his "joy ride" should come directlly out of Mr. Habib’s pocket.  Maybe whoever is funding his Northwestern education could cover my costs as well.  Why does he have no responsibility when it comes to the victims of his stupid actions?

     

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