Car Crashes Through Chicago Storefront, Driver Injured

January 13, 2013

Visitors to the Lincoln Park (Chicago) retail store were startled Sunday evening when a passing car veered onto the south plaza and crashed through the south end glass doors and into the east accessory wall. Police say the elderly driver was slightly injured in the 6:15 p.m. crash, which destroyed the right glass door panel, a smaller adjacent glass panel, a display table and one of two large-screen video displays. The car threaded the entrance, missing the left door and the main, 20-foot tall windows on either side of the entrance that would have cost about $65,000 to replace—each. No visitors or employees in the store reported being injured. It’s the first such accident for the retail chain, although several burglars have used similar tactics at U.S. stores to steal merchandise. Pedestrians often walk into the glass storefronts of Apple stores, including a woman who struck the Lincoln Park glass on the night before the grand opening, and an 83 year-old woman who filed a lawsuit. The company installed window warning stickers in early 2011 to help prevent the accidents. The store opened in October 2010, and is set on a triangular plot created by three intersecting streets. The south entrance is set back from the nearest intersection by almost 90 feet. There are no bollards in the sidewalk or plaza to prevent vehicles from reaching the store. Apple commonly does not install physical or visual obstructions in front of its stores, because they interfere with the store-visitor interaction and experience. In most cases, even existing bike and news racks, light poles, and even fire hydrants have been removed or relocated as part of a new store construction project.

Thanks Brian for the crash aftermath photos, taken the next morning.

The south plaza of the Lincoln Park store is scarred by tire tracks (arrows) from the skidding car. The marks seem to indicate the car approached northbound on South Halsted Street.

The south entrance of the store was boarded up with Apple’s traditional material and color: black plywood. A tire track (arrow) is visible veering towards the door. The left door was unbroken after the crash, but appears to have been removed and covered.

Inside the Lincoln Park store, most of the damaged objects have been removed—a display table and wall shelving. However, the retractable video display screen remains, tilted at an angle indicating the impact. This display and a twin (off to right) can retract into the floor to provide more space for events. Not visible are some light scratches to the Italian stone floor tiles.

The stainless steel on the east wall was pushed out from the floor by about 2-3 inches after the crash. The damaged metal shelving, identical to the one that remains to the left, was removed.

Interestingly, the east side of the Apple store has several bollards (arrow) that prevent delivery trucks from driving too close to the building’s stainless steel walls. The blue car sits in the delivery space.

As shown on the satellite photo below, it’s possible the driver of the vehicle was northbound on North Halsted Street, or turning onto North Clybourn Avenue, and instead traveled north across the Apple store plaza, and into the south glass doors.

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