Driver Charged with Aggravated DUI, Passenger Tased

Newly sworn-in Officer Luis Ibarra signs his oath before Village Clerk Sheila McGann
Newly sworn-in Park Forest Police Officer Luis Ibarra signs his oath before Village Clerk Sheila McGann. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)
Update 11-12-19 at 7:19 PM: The passenger in the vehicle Mr. Jones was driving was identified after we received more information from police on November 12.

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A man was charged with an aggravated DUI and aggravated driving while license was suspended after police learned he had a prior conviction on a charge of driving while license was revoked.

Frederick Jones, 35, 2630 Woodworth Pl., Hazel Crest, was arrested on October 3 and charged with one count of aggravated driving while license was suspended, one count of aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol, and issued traffic citations charging improper lane usage, failure to signal, speeding, unlawful parking in a handicap stall, and operation of an uninsured motor vehicle.

An officer traveling southbound on Western Avenue from North Street was stopped at a red traffic signal at Western Avenue and North Street when he observed a black Chrysler 300 turn southbound onto Western Avenue from westbound Beacon Boulevard on a green traffic signal. Upon turning southbound, the Chrysler allegedly failed to maintain either the center or the curb lane but instead drove southbound straddling both lanes, according to police.

Prior to reaching the railroad tracks, the Chrysler took a position in the left-hand lane, according to police.

Upon reaching the tracks, the Chrysler allegedly veered into the right-hand lane and continued southbound driving between both lanes of traffic, according to police. Continuing southbound and after passing 26th Street, the Chrysler allegedly began to accelerate, according to the report.

The officer activated the front-mounted radar in his patrol vehicle and confirmed that the Chrysler was traveling at 57 mph in a posted 35 mph zone, according to police.

The Chrysler then allegedly veered into the right-hand lane but failed to signal, according to police. The vehicle continued southbound and allegedly continued to veer from side to side in the right-hand lane, according to police.

The officer activated the emergency lighting on his patrol vehicle near the intersection of Western Avenue and Main Street.

The Chrysler again veered to the right and allegedly almost struck the raised curb on Western Avenue, according to police.

The Chrysler subsequently pulled into the parking lot of CVS Pharmacy, 1 Main Street, and allegedly parked in a marked handicap stall, according to police.

Police: Passenger Exits

Immediately upon stopping, a passenger in the vehicle exited the front passenger side of the car and began to walk away westbound, according to police. The officer exited his patrol vehicle and immediately ordered the passenger to remain in the vehicle. The passenger, later identified as Vernis D. Thomas, 32, 1212 Peggy Lane, Chicago Heights, allegedly ignored the officer’s command and continued to walk away.

The officer gave Mr. Thomas an additional order to stay in the vehicle but Mr. Thomas allegedly continued to walk away, according to police.

The officer then drew his Taser, activated the red dot/light of the Taser, and pointed it at Mr. Thomas. The officer informed Mr. Thomas that he would be tased and again ordered him to stay in the vehicle.

Mr. Thomas allegedly immediately began running westbound along the north side of CVS, according to police.

The officer pursued Mr. Thomas on foot and informed dispatch of the pursuit. Near the northwest corner of the building, the officer discharged his Taser. One probe struck Mr. Thomas in the right buttocks and the other in the middle of his back, according to the report. Mr. Thomas immediately fell to the ground lying on his back with his hands above his head.

The officer ordered Mr. Thomas onto his stomach and he complied.

Mr. Thomas was taken into custody without further resistance, according to the police. Mr. Thomas was later charged with one count of resisting/obstructing a peace officer and held on an active warrant out of Cook County charging DUI, according to police.

After taking Mr. Thomas into custody, this officer overheard another officer yelled for assistance near the location of the traffic stop. The officer found other responding officers ordering the driver, later identified as Frederick Jones, out of the vehicle.

Police learned that Mr. Jones’ Illinois driver’s license was currently revoked. Police learned that the passenger who fled had an active warrant for his arrest. The passenger was processed on the warrant.

An officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Mr. Jones’person. Mr. Jones further had bloodshot, glassy eyes, according to police. Police administered Standard Field Sobriety Tests after which police placed Mr. Jones under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

At the Park Forest Police Department, police learned that Mr. Jones had a prior conviction for driving while license was revoked.

All of the above was captured on the dash and body-worn cameras by officers at the scene, according to police.

About Police Reports

eNews Park Forest reports this information because the public in the United States has the right to know.  When that information is withheld or under-reported, it leaves questions.  We also want to show the work that the police force does every day that is not reported.  Police in Park Forest respond to thousands of calls per year, the vast majority of which do not end up with arrests.  Whether it’s conducting a routine investigation, pulling over a drunk driver, or responding to a possible theft at a store, the work of the police officer deserves acknowledgment by the public.

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eNews Park Forest has always published addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those who have been charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g. “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters including narcotics or gang activity are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.