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By Ben Meyerson
An armed robber and his getaway driver are in Cook County Jail, after taking a woman's purse and shooting at a man who followed them from the scene.
Diego Garcia, 20, and Cassandra Lavold, 21, both of Melrose Park, were arrested Dec. 8 on the Eisenhower Expressway at Desplaines Avenue after being chased by multiple squad cars and getting into an accident with one of them in the process, according to Oak Park Police Detective Commander LaDon Reynolds.
It all started at Harrison Street and Lombard Avenue in the Oak Park Arts District, Wednesday afternoon around 3:40 p.m., when Garcia allegedly robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint, according to police.
Garcia reportedly got into a car driven by Lavold and left the scene, but a man who witnessed the robbery followed as the perpetrators' car drove west through Oak Park.
Garcia and Lavold realized the witness was following them, and Garcia allegedly got out of the car on Maple Avenue near Jackson Boulevard and fired a bullet from a handgun at the witness, Reynolds said. The bullet missed, and Garcia got back into the car and sped away.
Oak Park police spotted the car just a few blocks away near the Harlem entrance to the Eisenhower, where multiple squad cars from Oak Park and Forest Park quickly began to follow them.
Garcia and Lavold fled on I-290 westbound but didn't get far. They were pulled over and arrested near the highway's median at Desplaines Avenue after getting into a minor accident with a police car.
The woman's purse was allegedly found in the vehicle, and Garcia and Lavold were identified by the victim. The car ran out of gas on the highway, and was towed back to the Oak Park police station.
The westbound Eisenhower was shut down by police for investigation, crippling traffic leaving the city during rush hour.
Garcia and Lavold were both charged with armed robbery and attempted murder. Garcia was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and Lavold was charged with possession of firearm ammunition without registration.
Both were in Cook County jail as of a court date last week. Their next court date is 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 at the Maywood Circuit Courthouse.