Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Police say a Park Forest teenager told them he panicked when he saw flashing lights and heard sirens behind him after he allegedly took the family car without permission just after midnight last Friday. The chase ended when the car he was driving struck a tree.
On July 17 at approximately 12:10 a.m., Commander Mannino was stopped by a woman in front of the Park Forest Police Department who related that her car had been taken without permission from her residence and that the car was currently passing the Park Forest Police Department.
Commander Mannino notified SouthCom Dispatch of what had just been reported and located the vehicle traveling north on Orchard Drive from Lakewood Boulevard. Corporal Boulden responded to the area to assist. As commander Mannino activated the emergency lights and sirens on his vehicle, the vehicle allegedly accelerated and began to pull away. Commander Mannino continued to follow the vehicle as it allegedly failed to stop at the stop sign located at northbound Orchard Drive at Westwood Drive.
According to police, the car turned right onto Westwood Drive. Commander Mannino then slowed and allowed Corporal Boulden to continue to follow the vehicle and attempt to stop it.
The vehicle continued, allegedly failing to stop at the stop sign posted at Westwood Boulevard and Norwood Drive. According to police, the vehicle sped through the stop sign and continued to the intersection of Norwood Boulevard and Western Avenue. There, according to police, the vehicle allegedly failed to stop at the traffic signal, which was red at the time. Corporal Boulden observed the vehicle drive through the red light and turn right onto southbound Western Avenue.
Corporal Boulden continued to follow the vehicle, which reached a speed of 60 mph, according to police. When the vehicle reached Western Avenue and Main Street, Officer Kush joined the pursuit.
The vehicle turned left onto Cedar Street and then right, southbound, on Dogwood Street, allegedly reaching a speed in excess of 50 mph on Dogwood, according to police. The vehicle drove off the roadway, in the area of Garman Road, from Dogwood Street, according to police, striking a utility pole, a parked vehicle, and eventually stopping when it struck a tree. The tree suffered extensive damage, according to police.
At this point, the driver exited the vehicle and ran south from Garman Road, through the court area towards Chestnut Street. Officer Kush took the subject into custody.
According to police, the subject said he had taken the vehicle, a family car, without permission of his parents. He allegedly told police that he was driving to the residence when he saw his mother and became worried that he would be punished for having taken the car, and decided to drive away. According to police, he allegedly told them that when he saw the lights and heard the sirens from the police vehicles, he panicked and decided that he was going to try to get away from police officers so he would not be caught.
The driver, Christopher L. Steele, 17, 58 Fir St., Park Forest, was arrested on July 17 and charged with felony aggravated fleeing and eluding. Steele was also charged with disobeying two stop signs, disobeying a traffic signal, two charges of speeding in excess of 21 miles an hour, and criminal trespass to auto. He was also treated for an injury to his leg.