Man crashes car into cemetery

A 24-year-old Maywood man faces felony drunk driving charges after he reportedly crashed his 2009 Nissan Sentra through a guardrail and fence and into the Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in North Riverside on Oct. 19 at about 1:30 a.m.

No one was seriously injured in the wreck, although both the driver and his passenger, a 22-year-old Berwyn man, were both treated at Loyola University Medical Center for their injuries. The passenger suffered a dislocated wrist and a cut on his right forearm that required nine stitches, according to the police report.

When police arrived at the scene, just south of the intersection of 16th Street and Circle Avenue, they found the heavily damaged vehicle inside the cemetery. Tire tracks led from the fence line into several tombstones, which were damaged, to the spot where the car came to rest.

The passenger was found at the scene, but the driver had allegedly fled the scene on foot. At about 2:50 a.m. police located the driver, Omar Mendoza, bleeding and walking in the 2000 block of Desplaines Avenue.

Initially, he reportedly told police he had been “jumped” in the cemetery, but later admitted he had been in a car accident in the cemetery and had jumped a fence to leave the scene.

According to the police report, Mendoza and his passenger had been drinking at a bar on Madison Street in Forest Park. Mendoza reportedly chose to take a “shortcut” and headed south down Circle Avenue at a high rate of speed, hitting the guardrail and fence where the roadway dead ends at 16th Street.

At the time of the crash, Mendoza was driving on a suspended license, police said. His blood-alcohol level was reportedly more than twice the legal limit of .08, according to the report. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved felony drunk driving charges against Mendoza.

He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of failing to give aid or information in a personal injury accident and was cited for several traffic offenses. He has a preliminary hearing on Oct. 28 at the Maybrook courthouse.

Two arrested for vehicle break-ins

Riverside police on Oct. 16 arrested two men in connection with reported vehicle break-ins that evening in the 200 blocks of Lawton Road and East Quincy Street.

Cicero resident Macedonio F. Diaz, 18, was charged with felony burglary to motor vehicle while a 22-year-old Cicero man was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle.

A resident of the 200 block of Lawton Road called police about 9:25 p.m. to report that a vehicle had been burglarized and the offenders may have been with a group of males riding bikes.

About 45 minutes later, police received another 911 call reporting that five males in dark clothing and riding bicycles had burglarized a vehicle in the 200 block of East Quincy Street.

Officers detained five suspects at Herrick and Delaplaine roads and reported finding proceeds from two Riverside vehicle burglaries on two of the suspects. Diaz and one other man were charged in connection with the incidents. The remaining three suspects were released without being charged.

The suspects reportedly told police they were riding their bikes home from Lyons through Riverside and targeting vehicles whose doors were unlocked.

Leave the BB gun at home

Brookfield police responded to the 3800 block of Woodside Avenue at about 1 p.m. on Oct. 18 after a caller reported seeing a man hand a large-caliber handgun to a woman as they sat in a car parked near the forest preserves.

Police located the vehicle in a nearby alley and spoke with two women, ages 44 and 52 and both residents of Lyons, who were in the car. Told of the complaint, the elder of the two women said they were looking for a lost dog and that her son gave her the BB gun while he was out looking for the dog.

The police officer confirmed the weapon was a BB gun and advised the women of the possible consequences for having a BB gun in public before releasing them from the scene.

Riverside homes burglarized

  • On Oct. 16, a resident of the 400 block of Kent Road reported his home had been burglarized.

When police arrived at the scene, they reported finding a ground-level side door kicked in. The home had been ransacked. A safe, cash and jewelry were among the items removed from the residence.

Riverside police are working with Berwyn police, since Berwyn has reported several home burglaries that employed the same method of operation.

  • On Oct. 18 a resident of the 300 block of Fairbank Road reported that his home had been burglarized sometime between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Police stated entry appeared to have been gained through an unlocked first-floor window.

Jewelry, an iPad and an HP computer were among the items stolen.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Oct. 14-20, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

—Compiled by Bob Uphues