Eager to receive her Halloween costume, Christine Przybylski went outside to check the mail at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Her parents, Elizabeth and Brian, were home at the time. The Przybylskis live on Cornell Avenue, a couple of blocks east of Willowbrook High School.
“We heard her scream,” said Elizabeth Przybylski of her daughter. “She ran inside and said she just saw I coyote, and that he had chased her and brushed her.”
Elizabeth thought her daughter might have seen a coyote from a distance. Two days earlier, on Sept. 22, the family observed a coyote in the street near their home.
Shortly after the Sept. 24 incident, the Przybylskis checked the video from a home surveillance camera.
“When I saw it, it was like I was watching a horror movie,” said Elizabeth. “It was so terrifying for me. I know they [coyotes] are around, but you almost never see them.”
The surveillance video shows Christine skipping up the driveway toward her home. The coyote is visible at the end of the driveway. Christine then walks toward a swing in the front yard.
The coyote approaches her in the yard. When Christine noticed the animal, she turned around and ran toward the driveway. The coyote then quickly charged toward her, brushing against her. The coyote then backed away in the yard, while Christine went to the front steps. At that time, a neighbor in a riding mower passed by on the street. The coyote then ran out of the Przybylskis’ yard.
“She stood there and sort of freaked out, then calmly walked inside,” said Elizabeth of her daughter. I’m so glad she got away.”
A contractor working at the home was sitting in a truck in a driveway at the time of the incident. He didn’t see anything, but he did hear Christine scream.
Brian Przybylski uploaded the footage to YouTube shortly after the incident. It wasn’t long before several media outlets contacted him to ask for permission to broadcast the video. A Channel 7 news crew visited the Przybylskis later that day.
Another television station conducted a phone interview, and another news program conducted an interview via FaceTime. By that evening, the footage was playing on numerous television stations around the country. Several websites also aired the footage of Christine’s close call with the coyote.
Elizabeth Przybylski contacted the DuPage County Forest Preserve, which responded that it only deals with animals on forest preserve property. A DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy did visit the Przybylski home on the night of the incident.
A few weeks before last week’s incident, the Villa Park Police Department reported the sighting of a coyote in the area of Harrison Street and Ardmore Avenue, which is about one block north and one block west of the Przybylski home.
In late August, following the sighting of the coyote near Harrison and Ardmore, the police department issued a few safety tips for residents who might see a coyote. Those tips include: keeping dogs on short leashes (no longer than 6 feet) while walking outside and keeping noisemakers (like whistles or horns) on hand to scare away coyotes that may enter your yard. People who see a coyote are also advised to wave their arms, clap their hands and shout in an authoritative voice.
“Don’t run away or turn your back on a coyote,” stated the tips from the police department. “Back away slowly and carefully from the coyote.”
Three days after the run-in with the coyote, Christine’s Halloween costume arrived in the mail. Christine is a fan of the television show “I Dream of Jeannie,” and she will be dressing as a genie on Halloween.