Watch CBS News

Caught On Video: Drunken Driver Smashes In Reverse Into West Loop Pure Barre Fitness Studio; Business Has Already Had Plenty Of Tragedies Lately

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Video shows a drunken driver ramming right into a West Loop business in reverse early Friday, and neighbors said they heard it, felt it – and then broke out the cameras to record what happened next.

CBS 2's Jackie Kostek caught up with the owner of the business, who said this was not the first tragedy to hit them recently.

At 1:25 a.m., police said a 25-year-old woman was driving north on Racine Avenue when she crashed into a light pole at Madison Street. She then attempted to reverse, and rammed into the Pure Barre fitness studio at 1170 W. Madison St. in The Madison at Racine building.

"The calls from the police and the alarm company," said owner Susan Rothman, "and yeah, not the call you want to get, right?"

Video captured the sight and the crashing noise as the vehicle plowed backward through the Pure Barre studio – Rothman's business of six years. Glass was left shattered and the framing was smashed.

Neighbors describe hearing two loud bangs and the car engine revving. Surveillance video shows the driver get out and attempt to physically dislodge her car from the storefront.

"Unreal," Rothman said. "Unreal."

Unreal, yes – but Rothman is choosing to look on the bright side.

"If this had happened at 5 o'clock in the afternoon with a full studio with people coming and going, this would be such a different conversation," she said.

Rothman says the crash didn't cause structural damage. But still, she expects her doors will be closed a while.

"I think I've always been pretty resilient, and owning your own business is just that lesson times a thousand," she said. "So I think the people that do survive – and particularly getting past COVID – so much about it is just that grit and resiliency."

Rothman's lessons in grit and resilience have come one after another for two straight years. First, there were COVID-19 shutdowns on and off for six months. Then came an armed robbery, and about two months ago, there was a break-in overnight.

And now this.

"Just looking for, you know, little uptick in our luck, and I think when we get everything back in place, I might need to just throw around some extra sage – just sage the whole place, right?" Rothman said.

Rothman has canceled classes for at least a week. She says the best way to support her business during this time is to go to her other Pure Barre location a mile away at 625 W. Lake St. in the Fulton River District.

The driver in this incident was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, and striking fixtures and other property – all misdemeanors. Officers also offered her medical assistance at the scene, but she refused.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.