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It’s been quite a while since Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel wrestled anyone to the ground after a foot chase, but that’s just the way the 48-year-old chief started his morning on Wednesday.

As he was driving north on Joliet Avenue in Lyons just before 9 a.m., Weitzel said he saw a car careen out of control from White Avenue and smash into the flag pole in front of the Lyons Public Library, at 4209 Joliet Ave.

“When she went off the road, she was flying,” said Weitzel, referring to the female driver, who reportedly jumped out of her Chevy Cavalier and fled the scene.

The driver was identified by Lyons Police as Marilyn Caltagerone, 52, of Justice. She has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and several other offenses.

Weitzel was in uniform when he pulled up to the library in his unmarked squad car. Witnesses pointed and shouted that the driver ran into a backyard in the 8000 block of White Avenue.

The chief radioed Lyons police about the crash and took off on foot after the driver, later identified as Caltagerone, finding her in the alley, where she had slipped and fallen. She got back up, but Weitzel said he tackled Caltagerone from behind. At that time Lyons police arrived at the scene and handcuffed Caltagerone, but she reportedly put up a fight.

“She wanted to take on the world,” Weitzel said, who added Caltagerone struggled with police and paramedics called to the scene and spat at onlookers who gathered nearby.

Lyons Police Officer Matthew Buckley, who also serves as a deputy fire chief in Riverside, was one of the first Lyons officers on the scene. He stated that Caltagerone kicked him and two other officers as they attempted to take her into custody.

“She appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination,” Buckley said.

Caltagerone was taken to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn where her blood was drawn to determine her blood-alcohol level or the presence of other stimulants.

It turned out, according to Buckley, that when Caltagerone crashed into the library flag pole, she was allegedly fleeing the scene of an earlier multi-car crash further east.

At 8:55 a.m., Lyons police were alerted to a four-car crash at Ogden and Center avenues. In that crash, a red Chevy Cavalier rear-ended another vehicle, setting off a chain reaction involving two more cars.

The drivers of the other three vehicles were taken to the hospital with what Buckley described as minor injuries.

Meanwhile, the woman driving the Cavalier allegedly took off at a high rate of speed, followed by one of the cars involved in the Ogden Avenue crash. The Cavalier headed south to White Avenue and then west, where it failed to negotiate the turn on to Joliet Avenue and struck the flag pole.

Had the flag pole not been in the way, Buckley said, the car probably would have struck the library near the front entrance.

In addition to DUI and reckless driving, Caltagerone was charged with four counts of battery to a police officer, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, resisting arrest, damage to state supported property and several traffic citations.