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Drunk driver hits pregnant woman pushing stroller

Woman pushes child out of the way before she was struck twice

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012 4:26 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 1:02 p.m. CST

A pregnant Morris woman walking with her child was transported to an area hospital after a drunk driver struck her twice at Stratton Park.

According to the Morris Police Department’s crash report, the incident took place about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday when a 1998 Saturn SL driven by Brittany L. McLaughlin, 21, of Tinley Park, reversed from where she was parked near the west entrance of the park.

At the same time, Brittanie M. Shenberg, 23, of 530 E. Illinois Ave., was walking behind the vehicle with a stroller and was struck when McLaughlin failed to see her.

Shenberg’s stepmother, Angella Crose of Morris, said Shenberg is eight and a half months pregnant, which was not noted in the police report. Harvey Van Cleave, deputy chief for Morris Police Department, said noting the pregnancy in department records could violate health privacy laws.

Shenberg reportedly pushed the stroller away to prevent the child from being struck. Initial reports indicated she was struck and knocked to the ground a second time when McLaughlin continued to reverse, however, Crose said Shenberg was under the car when the driver put the car into drive and struck her the second time.

McLaughlin and her three occupants told the officer they did not see Shenberg behind the vehicle. According to the police report, she stopped after Shenberg reportedly yelled and kicked the side of her car. Shenberg told the officer McLaughlin reversed quickly, estimating 10-15 miles per hour, rather than slowly backing.

Shenberg was taken to Morris Hospital where she was treated for minor injuries. Crose said she has since been hospitalized for consistent, early contractions and is on bed rest.

McLaughlin was arrested by Morris police for driving under the influence of alcohol and having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more. She was also cited for improper backing and illegal transportation of alcohol.  

Crose said the situation has been frustrating, but the family is glad that the injuries were not more extensive — for Shenberg, her son in the stroller and her unborn child.

“It’s a miracle that she didn’t get killed or the baby she’s carrying didn’t get killed,” she said. “It’s a mess.” 

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