A car struck a gas line outside the Forest Park National Bank and Trust branch at 7331 Roosevelt Road Friday morning, causing a gas leak outside the bank’s front entrance.

Police received word of the incident at 8:36 a.m., and upon arriving at the scene evacuated the bank and closed off Circle Avenue from Roosevelt to Fillmore and Roosevelt Road from Harlem to Thomas.

Roosevelt was reopened after about half an hour, while Circle remained closed until about 10 a.m., according to Sgt. Eric Bell of the Forest Park Police Department.

The bank would stay closed for the remainder of the day as workers from Nicor Gas dug a hole into the ground beneath the bank’s parking lot in order to access the main gas line and fix the leak.

Two firetrucks and several firefighters were at the site of the accident Friday morning, but soon left after they had determined that the situation no longer presented a risk that the gas would ignite.

Several bank employees remained in the bank’s parking lot to observe the scene, but said that they had been unable to see the crash from inside the bank.

Bell said that the driver appears to have lost control of his car, though a definite cause of the accident has not been determined. Police officers at the scene speculated that the driver might have panicked after accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brakes.

The driver, whose name has not been released, was brought to Loyola hospital as a precautionary measure, but Bell said he did not believe the man had suffered any injuries.

The driver was apparently an elderly man, and Bell said that the police department would recommend to the Secretary of State’s office that his driver’s license be reconsidered.

Proceeds to be donated to American Cancer Society


Over eight months ago the Forest Park Police Department lost one of its finest officers, Michael Luisi, to cancer. In his memory the Forest Park Fraternal Order of Police is hosting the first annual Officer Michael Luisi Memorial Golf Outing to show that they have not forgotten their fallen colleague.

“Mike was just a tremendous guy; everyone who ever met him remembered him because of his dynamic personality,” Justin Diano, event coordinator, said. Luisi was a Forest Park policeman for over 18 years and participated in the many of the department’s specialty programs including SWAT.

The golf outing will take place on August 6 starting at 1:30 p.m. at Fresh Meadow Golf Course in Hinsdale. The event costs $75 for golfers and $40 for guests who attend just for the dinner and the three-hour open bar. There will be prize drawings as well, with all proceeds from the event being donated to the American Cancer Society in Luisi’s name.

“We wanted to do a golf outing because I had participated in a couple of them and have always had a great time, so I know how addicting they are to go to every year” Diano explained. “We had hosted bowling events when Mike was sick to help the family pay the hospital bills but we decided that a golf outing would be a better way to get everyone together in a relaxed atmosphere to remember Mike and help the (American) Cancer Society.”

The event is set up to hold 144 golfers and 200 people for dinner. “We urge people who can’t participate in the golfing because of previous engagements to still try to come out and have dinner with everyone for a great cause,” Diano said.

Diano related how happy he was with the community and its generosity toward the event, stating that “The response, as far as donations, has been phenomenal. Right now we are waiting for those last minute golfers to sign up. Hopefully when all is done with we will be generating over $1,000 for the (American) Cancer Society in Mike’s name.”

Diano assured that there are many tee times available, and encouraged anyone who is interested to call the Police Department. “I’m sure it will be a great memorial to Mike and that everyone will have a great time and we plan on making this an annual event.”