July 19th, 2005


Hot pursuit!

Nothing exciting ever happens around here. Except once, earlier this month.

A few weeks ago (before I got an LJ account), I was heading home and sitting in heavy traffic at a stoplight just a few blocks from work. (For those who know the area, I was westbound on Oakton, between Milwaukee and Harlem.) There's a newer Walgreens on the corner where the light is, with parking on three sides and a driveway/alley on the fourth (so that drive-through pharmacy customers have an easy exit). Next to it is a 7-11 with a parking lot in front of it. Next to that is a side street. Between Walgreens & 7-11 is a scraggly hedgerow. There's a double-wide sidewalk (that is, double the standard suburban width; about the same as a standard city sidewalk) running down the street in front of both 7-11 & Walgreens, and Walgreens' parking lot has an exit right at the property line.

I was stopped in the right-hand lane, directly between 7-11 & Walgreens, minding my own business, and reading a book while I waited for the light to turn green. All of a sudden I hear this ka-THUMP ka-THUMP from behind me and to my right, and out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of something large and dark red. I turn my head to see what's going on just in time to hear more thumps and see one one but two police cars driving past on the sidewalk, in hot pursuit of a red car that had apparently driven into the 7-11 lot, up onto the sidewalk, and around the hedgerow into the Walgreens parking lot. The three cars drove off, and except for inwardly smiling at the really brief bit of excitement, I didn't think much of it.

A few seconds later, I hear more thumps and see two MORE police cars hopping up onto the sidewalk and down the curb into the Walgreens parking lot as the red car tears through the alley, around the Walgreens and comes to a halt. Several more police cars pour in from around both sides of Walgreens and join the two that came in from around 7-11. Five police cars try to box in the red car; one preventing him from getting around to the front of Walgreens, two preventing him from getting back out around 7-11, one preventing him from getting out towards the hedgerow and out back into the alley, and one preventing him from going back out the way he came in into the alley.

At least, that's what they thought. After a moment's hesitation, the red car slammed into reverse for a few feet, then sped off exactly back the way it came in (as the police car that had pulled in behind him hadn't turned sideways to actually block him in, but rather pulled up directly behind him like you would for a normal traffic stop), past the pharmacy pickup window, into the alley, and out north down the street, leaving the police cars to extricate themselves and speed off afterwards.

Nothing more happened for a while, then the light turned green and I continued on home, none the wiser to the beginning nor the end of the story.

Then, in this week's local paper, I finally found out what happened:

"Police Blotter
Chase (8300 Harlem)
A Joliet man was arrested leading police on a high-speed chace July 1 and trying to run over an officer. The chase began when officers pulled up to a vehicle in the St. John Brebeuf parking lot. The man's vehicle was partially blocked in by squads and an officer approached the car. The driver then revved the engine, slammed the car in reverse and evaded the squads. At this point, he allegedly accelerated towards an officer on foot and the policeman barely avoided being run down. The driver then sped away and officers followed quickly behind. After the driver zoomed recklessly through Niles at high speeds, he drove to the police station and turned himself in peacefully. He was arrested for aggravated assault and eluding officers. He also has an outstanding warrant in Palatine." (Niles Bugle, July 14, 2005)

So the police tried to block in this guy not once but twice, and both times left him an easy out. And then he somehow arrived at the police station and turned himself in "peacefully." (Reading between the lines: that sounds like he managed to lose all of the pursuing squad cars, as I doubt the police would do anything but manhandle him out of his car and wrestle him to the ground after a chase like that.) Really inspires confidence in the local law enforcement, doesn't it?

Moral of the story: The red light on Oakton at Milwaukee is reeeaaaaalllllyyyyy lllloooonnnggg.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf