A man died of injuries sustained after the March 8 Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day parade, but that doesn’t make the event any less safe or suggest it is getting out-of-hand, said Forest Park Fire Chief Steve Glinke Monday. According to Glinke, the number of calls for ambulance assistance during and after the parade was not memorably higher than over the previous five years.
“We have a rich history of nightlife here,” Glinke said. “On a day when several thousand more people are in town, we’re bound to have more calls,” he added.
Chicago resident John Moore, 52, died last Wednesday at Loyola University Medical Center of injuries he received March 8 after an oncoming Cadillac SUV on the Circle Avenue bridge hit him around 2:30 p.m. According to witnesses, Moore collapsed into the street, and the southbound vehicle, driven by a 67-year-old Oak Park woman, was unable to stop before running him over. Moore, the father of one son, was buried in Chicago March 17.
Glinke said Moore’s accident was not the only emergency that took place on the streets of Forest Park that Saturday. Police temporarily diverted the parade at Circle Avenue around 1:30 p.m. when a woman “skipping down the street” fell and injured her head on the sidewalk in front of 7310 Madison St., Glinke said. She was treated by emergency medical personnel and taken to a nearby hospital, Glinke said.
Every year for the past five, Glinke and Police Chief James Ryan keep a close eye on the parade, he said. The department keeps an ambulance on hand on the north side of town and a fire engine on the south side during the parade for emergencies.
In the hours after the parade, Forest Park emergency teams responded to three bars and a private residence to give emergency medical aid. They brought four people to area hospitals. Two separate incidents occurred at Angelo O’Leary’s, 7522 Madison St. at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to fire department records. Another emergency call was from Shortstop Lounge around 10:30 p.m. Also, EMTs took a person to the hospital from the 300 block of Circle Avenue at 7:15 p.m. Glinke declined to provide EMT reports listing the ages and genders of the people helped by Forest Park emergency staff.
In addition, police arrested a 27-year-old Schiller Park woman around 5 p.m. for allegedly snorting cocaine off the hood of her 1990 Cadillac parked in front of Schauer’s Hardware while her male and female companions publically urinated nearby. Several bar fights erupted in the hours after the parade, and police issued citations for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
But Glinke does not believe the parade is any more rowdy than in previous years, and certainly does not fear Forest Park’s event turning into another Southside Irish parade.
Last year the village cancelled two public events, Summerfest and the 4th of July fireworks display based on fears of rough crowds that could have led to violence.
But the St. Pat’s parade is not threatened, Glinke said.
“There is no movement afoot to clamp down on the revelers,” Glinke said. “The overwhelming majority of people acted responsibly and had a good time.”
“People are alarmed that somebody died,” Glinke added. “I feel bad for the [victim] and his family. But I’m not ready to say there’s a cause and effect [between the parade and the pedestrian accident].”
“If I had a concern I would express it,” he said.