Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through March 16, 2020

TimStrong police squad
The #TimStrong police squad parked in the DownTown on July 4, 2019. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- These police reports include arrests through March 16, 2020. Charges for those arrested include driving while license was suspended, DUI, disorderly conduct, and one man was charged with both domestic battery and aggravated assault.

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.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Aja L. Young, 27, 4709 W. 203rd St., Matteson, was arrested on March 13 and charged with leaving the scene of an accident (over $1500), failure to leave information after an accident, failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, and no proof of insurance. Ms. Young was given an extended court date of June 3, 2020, at the Markham Courthouse due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An officer responded to a report of a traffic crash in the 400 block of Illinois Street at 6:07 AM. He spoke with the man who said he was awakened by a loud noise, looked out his window and saw that his parked vehicle was involved in a crash with two other vehicles, according to police.

The man’s vehicle was parked on the north side of Illinois Street in front of his residence and was wedged up against another vehicle that was parked behind his, according to the report. Another vehicle, a Ford Focus, was in the middle of the street, facing westward, according to the report.

The man then saw a woman between 20 and 30 years of age wearing a black hooded sweatshirt who allegedly exited the Ford Focus and began running westbound on Illinois Street, according to police. The man then called the police.

The responding officer observed skidmarks on the street which indicated that the Ford Focus appeared to have been traveling eastbound when it struck the man’s vehicle which in turn caused that parked vehicle to strike the other vehicle, according to police.

After conducting a LEADS inquiry, the man discovered that the Ford Focus along to Aja L. Young of Matteson and another person, according to police.

The responding officer from Park Forest made contact with the Matteson Police Department, requesting that they contact the owner of the vehicle. They did so but found that the person they were told was allegedly driving the Focus was not home, according to the report.

At approximately 3 PM, the officer from Park Forest learned that Ms. Young responded to the Park Forest Police Department attempting to inquire about her vehicle, according to police. This officer asked to speak with Ms. Young regarding how the crash occurred and what her alleged involvement might have been, according to police.

Ms. Young allegedly replied that she was driving the vehicle prior to the crash when her boyfriend, who was driving a separate vehicle, allegedly attempted to crash into her car which caused her to crash, according to police. When the officer continued to question Ms. Young she allegedly changed how the crash occurred, stating that “she did not remember,” and later went to the hospital, according to police. The officer asked Ms. Young if she had been drinking prior to the crash at which point she responded that she worked with a lawyer before answering any further questions, according to the police.

The officer then placed Ms. Young under arrest on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident, according to the report.

Felony Manufacturing/Delivery of Cannabis

Donnell Murdock, 34, 110 Algonquin St., Park Forest, was arrested on March 13 and charged with one felony count of manufacturing/delivery of cannabis (Class 3) and one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property after police executed a search warrant at that address on March 13 at 6:34 AM.

Twelve officers responded to search the residence. One of them, a detective, knocked on the side door announcing, “Police department, search warrant. Open the door now.” A short time later, two adults, a man and a woman, one of them, Donnell Murdock, met with the officers. The detective provided Mr. Murdock with a copy of the search warrant, according to the police.

There were also five children, ages 8 to 16, present in the home, according to the report.

All occupants were taken to the living room while detectives conducted a search of the home.

Among other items, a HomDox safe on a coffee table, a plastic bag containing green plant material, suspect cannabis, a glass jar containing a plastic bag containing green plant material, suspect cannabis, along with empty small Ziploc bags inside the jar with the cannabis, according to police.

A detective was able to use keys discovered under a pillow to unlock the safe. Inside the safe were two plastic bags containing green plant material, suspect cannabis, according to police. The safe also contained empty plastic bags of different sizes, a razor blade, and a plastic glove, according to police.

Due to inadequate food at the residence, police provided breakfast to the children, according to the report.

The detective who originally knocked on the door of the residence noted in his report “poor living conditions inside” the home. The detective observed rat feces, dog feces, dead and live cockroaches, as well as other insects inside the home, according to the report. The report notes “an overwhelming amount of filth and dirt” throughout the home.

Delivery/Manufacturing of Cannabis

Jermaine Arnold Jr., 24, 29 Leims Rd., Park Forest, was arrested on March 13 and charged with delivery/manufacturing of cannabis (Class 3), possession of cannabis (Class 4), and improper lane usage.

An officer traveling South on Western Avenue from 26th Street at approximately 9:24 AM was behind a silver 2005 Porsche. The vehicle allegedly straddled the center dotted line that separates the southbound lanes of Western Avenue, according to police. The vehicle’s passenger tires then completely crossed the center dotted line and the vehicle allegedly occupied both southbound lanes briefly before the vehicle activated its right turn signal and changed lanes, according to police.

The officer activated his squad’s emergency lights and curbed the vehicle on Western Avenue near Main Street, proceeding to speak with the driver and sole occupant, later identified as Jermaine Arnold Jr.

Mr. Arnold told the officer that the vehicle’s window was broken and he opened the driver’s door so that he could speak with the officer. The officer immediately detected a strong odor of fresh cannabis emanating from inside the car, according to police.

The officer apprised Mr. Arnold of the reason for the stop and Mr. Arnold apologized and provided no explanation, according to police. Mr. Arnold then provided a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, according to the police.

Another officer arrived on the scene to assist.

The officer who pulled over Mr. Arnold’s vehicle asked him about the smell of cannabis and asked if he smokes cannabis inside the car. Mr. Arnold allegedly confirmed that he smokes cannabis in the vehicle on a regular basis and did so the evening prior, according to police. The officer asked Mr. Arnold if he had any cannabis in the vehicle and Mr. Arnold allegedly avoided answering the question, according to police. The officer asked again and Mr. Arnold reached for his right pant pocket as if he was going to retrieve cannabis, according to police.

The officer stopped Mr. Arnold and asked him where the cannabis was and Mr. Arnold allegedly said, “Somewhere,” then attempted to search through the center console which the officer instructed him not to do, according to police.

Due to the strong odor of cannabis and Mr. Arnold’s alleged continued movements toward concealed locations, the officer asked that Mr. Arnold exit the vehicle, according to police.

Police searched Mr. Arnold with negative results. During the search, Mr. Arnold allegedly informed police that there was more than an ounce of cannabis in a book bag in the back seat of the vehicle, according to police. The officer recovered the book bag and found inside 11 blue sealed plastic bags with labels and a net weight of 38.5 grams, according to police. The bags were not clear but the contents were listed as “cannabis flower,” according to police. The officer later opened the bag and field-tested a sample that showed the presumptive presence of cannabis, according to police. Police also found 11 sealed plastic bags that contained suspect cannabis with a combined weight of 82 grams, according to police. These bags had no writing or labels. Police additionally found five clear plastic sandwich bags containing suspect cannabis with a combined weight of 43.9 grams, according to police. In total, the recovered cannabis had a combined weight of 164.4 grams, according to the police.

Police informed Mr. Arnold that he was under arrest and his car was towed from the scene and impounded, according to police.

Operating a Motor Vehicle with Suspended Registration

Kevin Boynton, 31, 16038 Minerva Ave., South Holland, was arrested on March 14 and issued traffic citations charging operation of a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, operation of an uninsured motor vehicle, and unlawful display of a registration sticker when an officer observed a white Chevrolet Malibu traveling eastbound on Allegheny Street at 11 PM. The officer conducted a LEADS inquiry on the vehicle which yielded and that the registration was currently suspended for alleged mandatory insurance violation and additionally the registration had expired in April 2019.

The officer activated the emergency lights of his patrol vehicle and curbed the car near the intersection of Allegheny and Apache Streets. The officer approached the car and spoke with the driver, later identified as Kevin Boynton, and informed him of the reason for the stop. Mr. Boynton told the officer he was unaware of the suspension of the registration, according to police.

When the officer asked for Mr. Boynton’s driver’s license and proof of insurance, Mr. Boynton provided the officer with his US passport but did not have insurance, according to police.

Another officer arrived on the scene to assist.

The officer who pulled Mr. Boynton over returned to his patrol vehicle and while doing so noted that the registration sticker on the car appeared to be valid through July 2020 although it was listed as expired in LEADS. Upon further inspection, the officer noted that the registration sticker on the vehicle was from another car and further noted that the number “7” appeared to have once been a “2” and was drawn on with a black marker, according to police.

The officer conducted a LEADS inquiry of the registration sticker and learned that it was registered to a 2000 Chrysler van, according to police.

When asked about the sticker, Mr. Boynton allegedly told the officer that he had a friend steal the sticker for him and that he, Mr. Boynton, altered the sticker to make the “2” into a “7”, according to police.

Police subsequently took Mr. Boynton into custody. The vehicle he was driving was towed and an administrative seizure was placed on it per village ordinance. Mr. Boynton was provided a mandatory court appearance of May 11th, 2020, at the Markham Courthouse, according to police.