High-speed Chase: Park Forest Police Blotter Reports for August 9-14, 2018

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Squad vehicles parked outside the Park Forest Police Department. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Editor’s Note: This coverage represents reports from August 9 through August 14, 2018. There were five arrests reported this week, two involving felony charges. There was a DUI arrest and, in a separate instance, a high-speed chase down Western Avenue where the arresting officer reported accelerating to 96 mph before finally stopping the alleged offender.

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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 entail 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.

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.

Driving While License Suspended

Chantelle R. Rhodes, 26, 135 Hay St., Park Forest, was arrested on August 9 and charged with driving while license was suspended and issued citations charging improper lighting one headlamp, failure to properly secure a child under the age of eight, and operating a vehicle without insurance. Ms. Rhodes was released on an I-Bond, according to police.

Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle, Domestic Battery

Nathaniel Smith Jr., 28, 8425 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, was arrested on August 10 and issued a state traffic citation charging operating an uninsured motor vehicle and also processed on one count of domestic battery after police responded to the intersection of Shabbona Drive and Mohawk Street at 7:35 AM to investigate a traffic collision.

When police arrived, they discovered a blue Oldsmobile facing north on Shabbona Drive just north of Mohawk Street. A black Nissan was facing east on Mohawk Street, partially on the sidewalk in the 300 block of Shabbona Drive. Police observed damage to the front and of the Oldsmobile and the rear driver’s side of the Nissan.

As officers conducted their accident investigation, the driver of the Oldsmobile, Nathaniel Smith Jr., was “very animated and upset, consistently yelling and using profanity,” according to the report. One officer asked Mr. Smith for his phone number and Mr. Smith allegedly replied, “F* my phone number,” according to police. Mr. Smith eventually provided his phone number, his driver’s license, and an expired insurance card, according to police.

Police attempted to speak with Mr. Smith to clarify the events leading to the collision, however, Mr. Smith allegedly became upset and began using profanity again, telling one officer, “Shut the f* up talking to me,” and allegedly threatened he would “beat the sh*t” out of the officer, according to police. At one point, Mr. Smith and a man who was a passenger in his vehicle allegedly engaged in a verbal altercation, according to police. The argument intensified to the point where it appeared to officers that it might become physical, according to police. Officers began to separate the individuals.

A woman hugged Mr. Smith from behind in an attempt to pull him away from the passenger and prevent him from physically fighting. Mr. Smith broke her grasp and allegedly pushed her away with both hands. She threw her arms in the air and took several steps backward to prevent herself from falling. At this point, officers informed Mr. Smith that he was under arrest on suspicion of domestic battery and placed him in handcuffs.

The driver of the other vehicle was issued a state traffic citation charging failure to yield, according to police.

High-speed Chase: Aggravated Speeding

Horatius L. Nelson Jr., 60, 33 McGarity Rd., Park Forest, was arrested on August 11 and issued a Will County citation charging aggravated speeding after police observed two vehicles traveling southbound at 11:31 PM on Western Avenue at a high rate of speed, according to police.

The officer was monitoring traffic on Western Avenue at 26th Street from a parking lot when he observed a vehicle traveling at an estimated 50 miles per hour in the posted 35 miles per hour zone. A couple of seconds later, the officer observed a silver Lexus accelerate after the first vehicle at a higher rate of speed, according to police. The officer pulled out of the parking lot and began to follow the two vehicles.

The two vehicles appeared to be traveling in tandem, making numerous lane changes around other vehicles as they sped south on Western Avenue, according to police. The first vehicle, a wagon-type car, signaled for its lane changes while the Lexus did not, according to police. At Western Avenue and Steger Road, the Lexus was immediately behind the wagon. The two vehicles were in the left lane at a red light. When the light turned green, both vehicles allegedly accelerated to a high rate of speed, according to police.

The officer paced the Lexus. At peak speed, the officer was traveling 96 miles per hour in the posted 46 miles per hour zone, according to the report. The officer’s patrol vehicle was only slightly closing the gap with the Lexus, after which time the Lexus began to brake.

The officer initiated a traffic stop on the Lexus at Western Avenue and Valley View Lane.

The driver of the Lexus, Horatius Nelson, allegedly told the officer that he was “just messing with that girl” in the wagon-style vehicle. He stated that he did not know her at all. Mr. Nelson was placed into custody on suspicion of aggravated speeding and transported to the Park Forest Police Department. He was assigned a mandatory court date of September 12, 2018, at the Joliet Courthouse. He posted his license as bond and was given a ride back to his vehicle, according to police.

Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon, DUI

Chance L. Houlden, 34, 3648 174th Ct., Lansing, was arrested on August 12 and charged with felony unlawful use of weapons, improper lane usage, no proof of insurance, driving while under the influence of alcohol, improper parking on the roadway, and driving with no valid driver’s license. Police were dispatched to the 300 block of Indianwood Boulevard at 4:23 AM to investigate a report of a slumped driver.

SouthCom Dispatch related that the caller observed a Chevrolet Suburban on Indianwood Boulevard with the driver asleep while the vehicle was still moving.

An officer from the Richton Park Police Department also responded to assist.

When police arrived, they observed a white Chevrolet Suburban in the southbound lane on Indianwood Boulevard south of Marquette Street with the front driver’s side wheel on top of the raised center median, according to police. The Chevrolet had stopped but the engine was still running.

The responding officer from Park Forest observed that the driver’s door window was open halfway and the driver, later identified as Chance Houlden, was lying back in the driver’s seat sleeping, according to police. The officer immediately observed a green and black Taurus G2C 9mm semi-automatic handgun lying on Mr. Houlden’s lap, according to police.

To ensure that the weapon would not be used against the officer and that Mr. Houlden would not be able to reach for it, the officer reached inside the Chevrolet’s open window, retrieved the handgun, and placed it in his pants pocket.

The officer from Richton Park arrived on scene to assist.

The officer from Park Forest yelled for Mr. Houlden to wake up, however, he did not respond, according to police. The officer observed that the Chevrolet had keys in the ignition and the vehicle was in Drive. The officer reached inside the vehicle through the open window, hit the button to unlock the doors, and put the vehicle in Park.

The officer kept yelling for Mr. Houlden to wake up while shaking his shoulder. Mr. Houlden eventually woke up and was ordered to step out of the vehicle where he was placed in handcuffs. Police later learned that Mr. Houlden did not have a valid FOID card or a concealed carry permit. After transporting Mr. Houlden to the Park Forest Police Department, SouthCom Dispatch advised police that Mr. Houlden was also a registered sex offender and that he was past due to register.

The vehicle Mr. Houlden was driving was towed from the scene and seized per village ordinance.

Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

Gregory Sturgeon, 59, 11911 S. State St., Chicago, was arrested on August 14 and charged with one felony count of failure to register as a sex offender after police responded to the intersection of Western Avenue and Norwood Boulevard at 10:51 AM to investigate a report of indecent exposure.

Dispatch advised police that a man was disrobing just west of the intersection.

When police arrived, they observed a man matching the description they were given by dispatch, later identified as Gregory Sturgeon, standing in a grassy field just west of the intersection. He wore no shirt, his pants were rolled up to his upper thigh, and he had shoes on but no socks, according to police. There were no additional people in the vicinity, according to police, so officers exited their vehicles to speak with Mr. Sturgeon.

Mr. Sturgeon told police that some people were leaving things on the ground which would transfer to him and make him ill, according to the report.

As he spoke, Mr. Sturgeon continuously wiped his arms, legs, and chest with a small damp piece of cloth, according to police. Officers inquired if he needed medical treatment and Mr. Sturgeon declined, according to police. He said that he was trying to get back to Dixon, Illinois.

Mr. Sturgeon then began to mumble incoherently and officers summoned Park Forest paramedics to evaluate his well-being. Mr. Sturgeon did not have identification but provided his name and date of birth. Officers conducted a law enforcement database inquiry and learned that Mr. Sturgeon was a registered sex offender who was notified to register, but allegedly failed to do so.

Park Forest paramedics arrived on the scene and Mr. Sturgeon signed a waiver denying any additional treatment, according to police. Mr. Sturgeon was subsequently placed under arrest on suspicion of being in violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act and transported to the Park Forest Police Department.

Later, at approximately 11:56 AM, the original responding officer spoke with the complainant who said that she was traveling in her vehicle along Norwood Boulevard when she observed a man standing alone in the grassy field just west of Norwood Boulevard and Western Avenue. The man allegedly pulled his pants to knee height, exposed his genitals, and began to wipe his genitals with a small cloth, according to police. The complainant continued driving but immediately contacted police to report the incident, according to the report.