More Hinsdale community members call for safety measures outside Fuller’s Car Wash

Three weeks after the parents of Sean Patrick Richards, 14, who died from injuries sustained in a crash outside Fuller’s Car Wash on July 17, sent demands to revoke the permit allowing Fuller’s to operate within Hinsdale, Village officials said it does not have that authority.

Fuller’s Car Wash, on 102 Chicago Avenue, received a special use permit from the Village nearly three decades ago. Since 2007 at least five vehicles have uncontrollably left the car wash leading to damage or injury, Kristine Richards said last month.

Lawyers told the Village Board of Trustees that they could not revoke Fuller’s permit, Village President Tom Cauley said at a village board meeting Tuesday night. “There’s just no zoning remedy for this,” Cauley said.

Days after the July 17 accident, Fuller’s installed a row of bollards to provide some protection for pedestrians outside the business. The bollards were put up without permits from the Village, who later deemed the number and placement of bollards insufficient.

As the Village of Hinsdale works to tighten safety measures around Fuller’s Car Wash, community members voiced agitation over a lack of urgency by the board.

“You’ve taken action in the past to protect people, and to protect businesses, but what I’m seeing here doesn’t seem to fall in line with that,” Bob Sweeney, a Hinsdale resident, said Tuesday.

Sweeney praised the Village for taking strong action during the COVID-19 pandemic but was confused by the lack of effort by the village board to enact more reliable safety measures in the months after the crash.

Last month Cauley said he was confident in the engineering team hired by the village to assess safety needs along Lincoln Street. Unswayed, the Richard’s family requested an independent engineer look at the village’s plans, to which Cauley later agreed.

Following a consultation with an independent engineering firm the Village bought crash-tested bollards that can withstand the impact of a pickup truck going 40 miles per hour. The manufacturer will install the bollards 3 feet 4 inches away from the sidewalk.

“We did it on the Village’s credit card because we want to get this done as quickly as we can,” Cauley said.