Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– It started at a red light, and ended with a felony charge.
Officer Mannino was traveling northbound on Western Avenue from Elm Street observed a vehicle drive through the intersection at 26th Street and Western Avenue while the East-West lights at that intersection where red. The officer turned West onto Norwood Boulevard in an attempt to follow the vehicle as it continued onto Westwood Drive. According to police, the vehicle was accelerating well over the posted speed limit of 30 mph. Police said the vehicle continued westbound through the intersection of Westwood Drive and Orchard Drive without stopping at the stop sign. At that point, the officer activated the emergency lights on his vehicle. The officer said the vehicle accelerated away from him at a high rate of speed. Officer Mannino said that his patrol vehicle recorded speed in excess of 80 mph in the pursuit. During that time, the vehicle he was chasing continued to gain distance from his vehicle. The officer estimates that the vehicle traveled between 85 and 100 mph in a posted 30 mph zone.
Officer Mannino followed the vehicle as it continued through the stop sign at Westwood Drive and Wildwood Drive without stopping, according to police, and reaching speeds in excess of 80 mph. As officer Mannino came around a curve near Westgate Drive, he observed the vehicle spin out in the middle of the roadway near the near the drivewary of St. Paul Good Shepherd Church. As officer Mannino came to a stop near the vehicle, a man, later identified as Gerald L. Barner, 22, 102 Nashua St., Park Forest, fled from the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Officer Mannino pursued Barner on foot as he ran north towards Warwick Street through back yards and driveways, according to police, yelling "Police!" And "Stop!"
Other officers responded to the area. According to police, after a brief foot pursuit, Barner was caught beyond the fence line of the rear yard of a residence in the 100 block of Warwick Street. According to police, Barner disobeyed commands from officer Hoskins to get on the ground. Barner was charged with one felony count of aggravated fleeing and eluding. Additionally he was charged with reckless driving, resisting a peace officer, disobeying a traffic signal, disobeying a stop sign, and speeding more than 40 mph over the speed limit.