Riverside police charged a 23-year-old St. Charles man with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving after he attempted to flee police from multiple towns during a chase on Aug. 30 just after 5 p.m. The man, Bryan C. Olson, drove onto the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks near downtown Riverside before his SUV flipped over on the tracks and burst into flames, halting rail traffic for more than an hour.
The aggravated fleeing and eluding charge is a Class 4 felony. If convicted, Olson faces up to three years in prison.
According to Riverside Assistant Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the chase began near Harlem Avenue and Madison Street in Forest Park when police there spotted a vehicle matching the description of one allegedly involved in a River Forest drug investigation. The suspect allegedly had been seen injecting drugs while parked in the lot at the River Forest Town Center at Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, Weitzel said.
River Forest Deputy Police Chief Kendra Sullivan confirmed that Olson “appeared to be in possession of a controlled substance” when a River Forest officer, who was on foot, walked toward the vehicle. Before the officer could question the suspect, the man took off, driving recklessly through the Town Center lot before heading south down Harlem Avenue.
According to Forest Park Deputy Police Chief Tom Aftanas, Forest Park officers gave chase west through that village and into Maywood. Olson then allegedly headed south on First Avenue and onto the Eisenhower Expressway, exiting at Desplaines Avenue, where he turned south. Forest Park police terminated their chase at Cermak Road, but Riverside police picked up the pursuit just past the intersection of 31st Street and Desplaines Avenue.
Olson reportedly continued south on Woodside Road and into downtown Riverside before heading east on Burlington Street and then south on Cowley Road, where he attempted to drive east along an access road adjacent to the BNSF tracks. Olson lost control of the SUV, which rolled over and came to rest on the southernmost railroad track between Cowley and Herbert roads.
Despite rolling the vehicle on the tracks, police said Olson was not seriously injured in the wreck, but Riverside Fire Department paramedics transported him to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn for treatment of some minor injuries. He was released back into Riverside police custody around 8 p.m. Wednesday, when he was charged. Olson was also cited for driving an uninsured vehicle.
River Forest police also charged Olson with reckless driving. Forest Park police charged Olson with seven misdemeanor traffic offenses, including reckless driving and fleeing and eluding.