Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Minivan crashes into Newsroom building

Chicago police were questioning the driver of a minivan that crashed into a television news studio Sunday, moments after the station went on-air for its 10 p.m. newscast.

Gerald Richardson, 25, of Evanston, was ticketed with reckless driving and operating a vehicle without insurance.

No one inside the WLS-Ch. 7 studios at 190 N. State St. was injured, police said, but the loud impact unnerved anchor Ravi Baichwal, who shouted and looked off camera. It was not immediately clear why Richardson drove his Mazda MPV with Indiana license plates into the studio's reinforced glass wall, police said. The thick, bullet-proof glass did not shatter and Richardson was not hurt, said Chicago Police Sgt. Darien Easterday.

ABC 7 President and General Manager Emily Barr said the incident might have been deliberate, "but we can't verify it."

Dozens of people were on the sidewalk watching the newscast at the time. Witnesses said the driver was making a series of U-turns on State Street before he crashed into the building.

The studio was back in use for the station's 5 a.m. newscast. The car was removed about 3:30 a.m. The window was boarded up.

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