The man who drove a car through a track meet in the parking lot of S.E. Gross Middle School in Brookfield while trying to elude police in April 2014 has pleaded guilty to five charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Jason M. Bentley, 30, is being held at the Illinois River Correctional Center in downstate Canton, southwest of Peoria.
On March 23, Bentley accepted a plea deal in which five of the 10 charges against him were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas for aggravated battery to a child under age of 13, aggravated reckless driving, obstructing justice, aggravated fleeing and possession of a fraudulent ID card.
Bentley was sentenced by Judge Paula Daleo and was credited with serving 309 days in Cook County Jail following his arrest in Blytheville, Arkansas, on May 20, 2014. He is eligible for parole Nov. 14.
The FBI’s Regional Fugitive Task Force apprehended Bentley at a hotel about 60 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee and just south of the Missouri border. Bentley and his girlfriend, Celeste Martinez, had fled to Blytheville after Bentley eluded police during a high-speed chase on April 15, 2014.
Brookfield police attempted to pull over Bentley, who was driving a purple Hyundai Elantra, for a routine traffic violation. Instead, he sped away north on Arthur Avenue until he reached the S.E. Gross School parking lot, which was hosting a children’s track meet at the time.
Bentley drove into the parking lot and then frantically careened around the lot trying to find an escape route. In the process, his car made contact with a 6-year-old girl, who suffered a minor leg injury.
At the time, Brookfield Police Chief Steven Stelter remarked, “He did some doughnuts, and parents were grabbing kids to get them out of the way. By the grace of God, nobody was hurt.”
Police continued to chase Bentley until he reached 31st Street, where rush hour traffic made continuing the pursuit too dangerous. Police suspected that Bentley fled, because at the time he was wanted in Osceola County, Florida, for jumping bail to avoid imprisonment after being found guilty in 2011 in a drug trafficking case there.
Bentley was also arrested in 2012 in Dyer County, Tennessee, but posted bond and made his way to Chicago, where he used an alias to try to get a job with a Brookfield landscaping company. Police found a job application in the Hyundai, which investigators tracked to Martinez, his girlfriend.
On June 30, 2014, Martinez was arrested and charged with concealing a fugitive and obstruction of justice. She is free on bail awaiting trial. Her next court date is May 14 at the Maybrook courthouse.