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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Speeding Driver Crashes Into Northwest Side Home, Destroying 110-Year-Old Bungalow: ‘They Can’t Save It’

Two drivers were speeding when one side swept the other, causing a driver to crash into two houses, police said. One homeowner said speeding is a constant issue on the stretch of Harlem Avenue in Norwood Park.

A house in the 5800 block of North Harlem Avenue was badly struck by a speeding driver on March 18, 2022 at 12:35 a.m.
Richard Kelly
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NORWOOD PARK — Cheryl Kelly had just gone to bed when a loud noise that jolted her awake Thursday.

Panicked, Kelly and her son went outside and saw a driver had struck the front of the family’s house near West Talcott and North Harlem avenues. Kelly never saw the driver, but the car was destroyed, she said.

“I heard a loud noise and a bang like a bomb. … Then I saw that my house is destroyed,” said Kelly, who has lived in the 110-year-old bungalow on Harlem for 23 years.

The house was hit by a speeding driver about 12:30 a.m. Thursday after he lost control and hit two houses, police said. The 32-year-old man, who was driving a black BMW, told police he was driving northbound on Harlem when another driver going in the same direction changed lanes and sideswiped him before fleeing driving off. Both drivers were speeding, police said.

The man was taken to Lutheran General Hospital in good condition and ticketed, though police could not immediately provide the citation information. Nadig Newspapers was first to report the incident.

Credit: Richard Kelly
A house in the 5800 block of North Harlem Avenue was badly struck by a speeding driver on March 18, 2022 at 12:35 a.m., causing the front room to detach from the rest of the house.

Kelly said the crash destroyed her home’s enclosed porch and front room, detaching it from the building and crushing its windows. Photos show the foundation of the house was also damaged, and cracks in the living room wall have spread since the crash — making repairs without demolition impossible, Kelly said.

“My house … they can’t save it,” she said.

Credit: Richard Kelly
A house in the 5800 block of North Harlem Avenue was badly struck by a speeding driver on March 18, 2022 at 12:35 a.m.

Building inspectors and insurance representatives have assessed the damage, and it’s likely that the house needs to be demolished to be fixed, Kelly said.

“I am kinda nervous because [the house] is really open now. … I had to turn off the heat, and power in this room because the radiator was starting to leak,” she said.

Kelly’s neighbors’ front staircase was also pulled off during the crash, she said.

This is the first time a driver has hit Kelly’s house, though she said speeding has been a longtime issue on Harlem. She and her neighbors want speed cameras installed to help prevent future accidents.

Kelly said she’s grateful the crash wasn’t worse and for the help she’s received from neighbors. She’s waiting to hear from her insurance company on her chances for rebuilding.

For now, Kelly plans to stay with family who lives nearby, she said.

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