Oak Park and Forest Park cops chase alleged drug dealers into hospital

Fleeing Camry drags officer 5 feet, hospital employee almost struck

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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

Oak Park and Forest Park police arrested four men, Thursday, after a car and foot chase that led from a Forest Park gas station to an Oak Park fast food restaurant parking lot and ended with alleged drug dealers crashing their vehicle and fleeing into Rush Oak Park Hospital.

Forest Park police first noticed a black 2012 Toyota Camry parked at Thornton's gas station, 601 N. Harlem Ave. in Forest Park, a location known for narcotic sale activity. Three passengers in the car waited in the parking lot for about five minutes without exiting or buying gas. When they pulled into the Wendy's at Harlem and Madison Street in Oak Park, an unmarked Forest Park squad car followed them, observing that the driver failed to signal before crossing a double-yellow line to turn left. Police observed another man, 18 years old, who entered the back seat of the vehicle in the Wendy's parking lot.

Police curbed the car for the traffic violation near Rush Oak Park Hospital at Wisconsin and as the driver was speaking to an officer, he attempted to grab back his I.D. from the officer's hand, dragging his arm into the vehicle. The 31-year-old Chicago man allegedly then stepped on the accelerator, dragging the officer about 5 feet. The officer released the ID and he and a partner ran to their squad car and pursued the vehicle, which ran a red light and sped into the hospital entrance at Wisconsin and into a parking lot. The driver reportedly lost control, drove onto the sidewalk and struck the side of the hospital's professional office building.

An Oak Park physician's assistant walking nearby told police she was distracted by her phone and, hearing squealing tires, looked up and jumped out of the way to avoid being struck by the Toyota.

The four occupants exited the car and three ran into the hospital, while a fourth fled into a gangway between houses along Wisconsin Avenue.

The four were arrested by Oak Park and Forest Park police. No drugs were recovered, but the 18-year-old man who had entered the car at Wendy's had two hypodermic needles in his possession. One man also had $1,250 cash on his person. He reportedly told police he was along for the ride to "make a deal" and said the men planned to sell a "jab" of heroin (12-13 prepackaged bundles).

The driver was charged with traffic violations as well as attempting to elude police and obstructing police. The other passengers were charged with attempting to elude police. The alleged drug customer was found to have an out-of-state warrant and was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Reader Comments

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slow down matt  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 9:05 PM

..who has less violent crimes to deal with. Are you really of the mind that you would be a cop in Austin and be primarily concerned with city stickers, littering, and loitering. Good luck with that one pal. No one would want to ride with you. Boys and girls are out there trading fire with thugs and you're writing local tickets for dogs pooping the park. When in Rome Matt..when in Rome... By the way slow down matt and ummm matt are closely related.

slow down matt  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 9:01 PM

James: Decent jobs isn't so much a way to avoid selling drugs. Decent jobs are obtained, usually, by decent job skills and being a competitve applicant. You can't just create decent jobs for people who have little job skills and if you create the jobs that want to locate where there is a good candidate pool nearby. Matt@ You have little idea what CPD tries to stop. Guys getting shot at and fighting every other night do not spend as much time focusing on quality of life issues as would someone..

Ummmm Matt  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 8:51 PM

Matt, have you not read the numerous articles about the failure of Chicago's cameras to stop crime from occurring directly under them even? Now it's the recent reports that cameras on CTA have not stopped a crime increase. Signs mean nothing if people aren't getting locked up...over and over again. Just like cops and citizens are resilient and innovative to address problems..so are criminals. They have brains too.

James  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 3:33 AM

matt, criminals will see the sign and either continue to deal there, or if a cops around, go a block over... Moving a dealer a block over temporarily does nothing to stop them from dealing. I'd rather catch the thug than have them relocate to a safer plot a block or 2 away.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2013 9:37 AM

The Forest Park PD is watching the place because that is where they spotted them. We dont know if other undercover agencies are watching the place because, well they are under cover. Possibly recording license plates and photos to put together a bigger case.

FYI  

Posted: March 5th, 2013 9:05 AM

What's truly scarey, maggy, is your utter lack of logic. Just where does "judgement" come in, as far as what direction to chase criminals when they run away? The cops stopped suspected drug dealers- gang bangers- and the driver sped off, dragging the officer. The thugs chose which way to flee, the cops only followed. And arrested all four. Several years ago a rapist with a handgun ran away from police in a residential neighborhood, and took a shot at them. Was that bad police judgment too?

matt on Madison  

Posted: March 5th, 2013 8:37 AM

James if you put a squad car at the corner and signs that your on surveillance i believe it will curb crime. Show me a sign on the west side, the cops don't even try to stop the criminals but thats not the case in Forest Park.

maggy  

Posted: March 5th, 2013 7:01 AM

Was it really necessary to chase these thugs into a residential neighborhood? That judgement call is very scary.

Funny  

Posted: March 4th, 2013 11:54 PM

The weather channel says we're suppose to get 10 to 12 inches of powder tomorrow... they are talking about snow right?

crime stopper  

Posted: March 4th, 2013 8:48 PM

Has this ever been dealt with in intergovernmental meetings? We're all in this together. It's not going away unless something changes. Are we helpless???

James  

Posted: March 4th, 2013 8:12 PM

Matt, signs don't curb crime. There are plenty of signs in Austin on the west side, and they do nothing to stop criminals from doing what they're going to do anyway. Even camera's don't do anything to curb crime, as seen with the fail attempts in Chicago with the flashing lights. We need enforced and hefty convections to make criminals think twice. We need to cut down demand through more education, and we need more decent jobs in poor areas so people don't see dealing as the only way to earn.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: March 4th, 2013 11:44 AM

for over 10 years the Thortons has been a source of either drug deals or people that bought in Chicago that get quick off the highway to use. I know the village made them put up better lighting and from this article obviously monitor activity there. Why not put signs up that say you are being watched by the police. This will curb all activity and yes I know they will move elsewhere but hopefully away from Forest Park.

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