DUI Among Charges: Police Reports Through June 16, 2020

Mark A. Blankenberger of Chicago Heights was charged with a DUI on June 11, 2020.
Mark A. Blankenberger of Chicago Heights was charged with a DUI on June 11, 2020. (Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- These reports include the first DUI charge in several weeks in Park Forest. They incorporate incidents between June 10 and June 16, 2020.

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use the word “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and/or charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

Providing more details than readers will find in any other police beat reports, we invite readers to subscribe to get the whole story, every day.

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.

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.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports June 10 Through June 16, 2020

DUI

Mark A. Blankenberger, 36, 59 Cherry St., Park Forest, was arrested on June 11 and charged with DUI, aggravated speeding, no proof of insurance, fleeing and eluding, and possession of a controlled substance.

A passenger in his vehicle, Megan M. Waliszewski, 30, 4405 Manchester Dr., Chicago Heights, was taken into custody in connection with two active arrest warrants out of Chicago Heights, according to police.

At 7:24 AM, an officer observed a vehicle driving southbound on Western Avenue that switched from the inside Lane to the curbside lane allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed, according to police. The officer’s radar indicated that the vehicle was driving 69 mph, 34 mph over the 35 mph speed limit, according to the report.

The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled onto the median at which time the vehicle allegedly continued southbound on Western Avenue, according to police. The officer turned his squad around and started driving southbound in an attempt to catch up to the vehicle, activating the sirens of his squad. The vehicle continued southbound and did not stop, according to police.

The officer advised SouthCom of the license plate of the vehicle which returned the name Mark A. Blankenberger, who was later identified as the driver, according to police.

Mr. Blankenberger approached Western Avenue and Apple Lane, activated his right turn signal, and turned onto Apple Lane, continuing westbound, allegedly reaching 45 mph, according to police. Mr. Blankenberger then approached Apple Lane and Lester Road, activated his right turn signal but allegedly did not completed the full stop required at the intersection, according to police. Mr. Blankenberger then drove northbound on Lester Road to the first block of Cherry Street where he pulled into the driveway where he resides, according to police.

Mr. Blankenberger then opened the driver’s side door of the vehicle, exited the vehicle, and “appeared he would flee the scene,” according to the report.

Mr. Blankenberger looked in the officer’s direction.

The officer drew his firearm and instructed Mr. Blankenberger to place his hands in the air.

Mr. Blankenberger complied, according to police. Mr. Blankenberger allegedly lowered his hands several times when instructed to keep them raised, according to police.

Other officers then arrived on the scene, according to police. The arresting officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Mr. Blankenberger’s breath while he was handcuffing Mr. Blankenberger, according to police.

Police transported Mr. Blankenberger to the Park Forest Police Department. The passenger in the vehicle, Megan Waliszewski, was taken into custody in connection with two active arrest warrants out of Chicago Heights, according to police.

At the Park Forest Police Department, the arresting officer and another officer took Mr. Blankenberger to the lockup area and conducted field sobriety tests on Mr. Blankenberger, according to police. Mr. Blankenberger told officers he had not been drinking and stated he was willing to take the tests, according to police.

During the field sobriety tests, Mr. Blankenberger allegedly stated, “It was Xanax, that’s all it was,” according to police. Mr. Blankenberger refused a breathalyzer test, according to police.

Police found a medical pill container when they searched Mr. Blankenberger, according to police. The pills were Xanax, and Mr. Blankenberger said they were prescribed by his doctor, according to the police. There was also a single yellow rectangular pill in the container which Mr., Blankenberger allegedly said was Alprazolam, according to police.

Mr. Blankenberger allegedly told police that he took eight Xanax pills at 6:30 AM and that morning as prescribed by his doctor, according to police. Police checked with his pharmacy and confirmed the prescription but were informed that Mr. Blankenberger was to take two pills per day, not eight as he allegedly told police, according to the report.

Battery

Jovaughn Johnson, 22, 323 Sangamon St., Park Forest, was arrested on June 12 and charged with battery after police were dispatched to the 200 block of Arrowhead Street at 11:19 AM to investigate a report of domestic trouble. Police interviewed the alleged victim who said that she did not want Mr. Johnson at the residence. She told police that Mr. Johnson allegedly tried to push his way into the residence and allegedly pushed her to the ground while she was in the kitchen, according to police. She then told her daughter to call police, according to the report.

Mr. Johnson allegedly told police that he knew he was not allowed at the residence, according to police.

When police began to take him into custody, he allegedly began yelling, “Please tell me. Just kill me,” according to police.

Mr. Robinson struggled with police as they placed him against the side of the house and then onto the ground, according to the report. Other officers responded, including Chief of Police, according to police.

Police placed Mr. Robinson on his left side and officers tried to get him to sit still until paramedics arrived. Mr. Robinson continued to yell, “I wanna die,” and deliberately hit the right side of his head on the driveway, according to police.

A neighbor who is a Registered Nurse responded with water and a rag and wiped Mr. Robinson’s face with cold water until paramedics arrived, according to police. Mr. Robinson continued to scream until he was placed inside the ambulance, according to police.

Park Forest Paramedics transported him to St. James Olympia Fields.

Mr. Robinson was processed and charged with battery and given a court date of July 27 at the Markham Courthouse, according to police.

The incident was captured on body-worn cameras, according to police.

Domestic Battery

Kenneth K. Pratt, 29, 220 Grant St., Park Forest, was arrested on June 12 and charged with domestic battery after police responded to the 200 block of Grant Street to investigate a report of a domestic dispute.

Upon arrival, a man later identified as Kenneth Pratt opened the door and permitted officers entry into the home, according to police.

Police saw a woman crying, covering her torso with a torn shirt, according to police.

Mr. Pratt and the woman had been arguing on and off over the previous two days, according to the report. During an argument, after the woman fell, Mr. Pratt allegedly grabbed the woman by the legs, pulled her out of a room, and later ripped her shirt and bra, according to police.

Obstructing Identification, Resisting

Darryl Williams, 26, 14 Apache St., Park Forest, was arrested on June 13 and charged with obstructing identification and resisting a peace officer after police were dispatched at 4:36 AM to the first block of Apache Street to investigate a report of a suspicious automobile. While on their way, police were flagged down by the complainant said that four men were standing in his driveway and he did not recognize them nor did he give them permission to be on his property, according to police.

When officers arrived, they made contact with the men, all of whom appeared to be “under an intoxicant,” according to the report.

One man began walking away. An officer ordered him to stop walking away and he complied, according to police. The officer asked his name and the man allegedly declined to provide it, according to police. The officer informed the man that he was being detained until he could be identified, according to police.

The officer instructed the man to place his hands behind his back, according to police. The man allegedly “took a bladed stance” and clenched his fists and arms, according to the report.

One officer grabbed the man by his left arm and another grabbed him by his right arm, according to police. One of the officers instructed him to place his hands behind his back or he would be arrested on suspicion of resisting a peace officer, according to police. The man allegedly continued to keep his arms clenched and his fists balled, according to police.

The two officers then took the man to the ground and were able to overcome his alleged resistance, according to police.

The man was later identified as Darryl Williams.

The other three men said that they did not go into the driveway in question, according to the police. All three men checked clear and were advised not to return to that address and were sent on their way, according to police.