Willie Wilson’s $1million gas giveaway kicks off Thursday morning with new safety measures in place

CHICAGO (CBS)– Businessman and philanthropist Dr. Willie Wilson donated $1 million in gasoline on Thursday morning.

Every driver who visits 50 participating city and suburban gas stations will receive $50 worth of free gas until $1 million worth has been dispensed.

CBS 2’s Marissa Parra is live in North Central where the cars are parked, waiting for the gift a few hours earlier. In Harvey, where CBS 2’s Meredith Barack is reporting, a police presence has already cleared a line of cars.

A total of 19 of the 50 participating gas stations are in the city of Chicago. The rest are spread across the suburbs — in areas where Wilson said he’s heard of people interested in a giveaway.

At the last gasoline giveaway in Chicago on Thursday, March 17 – during which Wilson donated $200,000 worth of gas – queues of waiting cars created a chaotic scene.

The large number of cars queuing for hours led aldermen to complain that it was preventing local children from getting to school and even ambulances from getting through.

Security measures in the city and in the suburbs are set up to avoid queues. First, no car can line up before 6:30 a.m.

This time, the city has indicated that each vehicle will receive a sticker indicating its position in the queue.

Two traffic control aides are supposed to be at each station to help get things done.

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications has issued the following comprehensive guidelines:

  • There will be an entry and exit point at each station with 12-15 volunteers from Dr. Wilson’s staff as well as a site manager providing direction.
  • Locations will close their normal operations at 6:30 a.m. to prepare for the event.
  • Motorists are asked not to line up more than 30 minutes before the start of the event at 7 a.m. Instructions for lining up will be provided at each site.
  • Each vehicle will receive a sticker indicating its position in the queue. Note: Vehicles will not be allowed to queue overnight and all must have a sticker to receive free gas.
  • Each station will be allocated $50 per car and can expect up to 400 cars per location. Estimated time is 4-5 hours. Note: This may vary from station to station.
  • 2 Traffic Control Aids (TCA) will be on site at each location to help manage the flow and impacts of heavy traffic.
  • The CPD will also assist the CAW at every location in the district they are in to ensure public safety and smooth traffic flow.
  • No gas cans or other containers are allowed.


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