Juvenile Charged After Allegedly Taking Police on Car Chase

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Police say a 14-year-old juvenile took them on a car chase on Tuesday, January 6, shortly after 6 p.m. The pursuit started on Shabbona and ended on Mantua when the car struck a tree and the driver allegedly fled the vehicle on foot.

At 6:15 p.m., Officer Lara was on routine patrol on Shabbona Drive at Sangamon Street. While on Shabbona, she observed a vehicle already stopped at the intersection at Sangamon facing west. The vehicle did not have a front license plate, according to police, and would not advance north on Shabbona as the vehicle turn signal indicated.  Officer Lara proceeded through the intersection.

The vehicle turned and followed the police vehicle on Shabbona past Blackhawk Drive. Officer Lara then turned the police vehicle right onto Miami Street and turned around in a driveway to return to Shabbona, intending to follow the vehicle. As she turned onto Shabbona, Officer Lara observed the vehicle driving at a high rate of speed, turning right onto Mantua Street, according to police.

Officer Lara followed the vehicle, which was now well ahead of the police vehicle, continuing on Mantua, and found the vehicle in the front yard of a house in the 200 block of Mantua. The vehicle had run off the roadway and struck a large tree. The driver was no longer in the vehicle, according to police. Other officers arrived on the scene.

Officer Studer and K-9 Dak began a search of the area for the driver. While Officer Lara was on the scene, another driver informed her that the vehicle she had been pursuing had struck his vehicle as well. Additional officers began to search the area. One officer spotted an unidentified person running in Somonauk Park. Police found the same shoe prints in the snow at the park that were found by the vehicle on Mantua Street.

Police contacted the registered owner of the vehicle who had called the Park Forest Police Department to report her car as stolen. Officers arrived at the owner’s residence and observed identical shoe prints in the snow as those that were found in the park and at the scene where the vehicle had been abandoned. Police also observed gym shoes on the floor of the residence, still wet from the snow outside, with the same pattern on the sole as those found in the snow outside, at the park, and at the scene in the 200 block of Mantua. Police learned that the owner’s 14-year-old son was the owner of the shoes. The juvenile was taken into custody and transported to the Park Forest Police Department for further investigation.

In a statement to police, the juvenile allegedly admitted taking his mother’s keys and leaving the residence without anyone knowing. He then started his mother’s vehicle and began driving west on Sangamon towards Shabbona. He stopped at the stop sign at Shabbona and Sangamon. When he saw the police vehicle, according to police, he realized he did not have his seatbelt on. He paused at the stop sign to put on his seatbelt, according to police. He then decided to follow the police vehicle to see what it would do, according to police.

The juvenile was charged with driving with no valid license, leaving the scene of an accident with vehicle damage, operation of a motor vehicle when registration suspended for not insurance, and operation of an uninsured motor vehicle.