Battling tow truck drivers wind up in Riverside

Riverside police say a pair of tow truck drivers who may have engaged in a gun battle over a disputed tow on Chicago’s Southwest Side ended up in Riverside, early Sunday morning, where one of the drivers was taken into custody on an active warrant.

The trouble started near the intersection of Archer and Lavergne avenues in Chicago, where the two truck drivers reportedly got into an altercation about who would tow a vehicle.

Unlike the suburbs, Chicago does not have a contract with one specific towing company for police tows, which often leads to disputes.

“The tow service is not regulated, and at times tow truck drivers physically battle for customers,” said Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

In this case, according to police, one of the tow trucks, driven by a 27-year-old Chicago Ridge man, rammed a tow truck driven by a 35-year-old Chicago man. Someone from the Chicago Ridge man’s tow truck also reportedly fired a gun at the other tow truck.

While Chicago police did receive calls about a vehicle crash, they did not get any calls reporting shots fired, Weitzel said.

However, according to Weitzel, both tow truck had bullet holes in them when they turned up in Riverside about 4 a.m. on July 12. No one was charged with firing a weapon because police did not recover a gun and the victim reportedly admitted that some of the bullet holes in his vehicle were from prior incidents.

The driver of the tow truck that rammed the victim’s truck apparently did not accuse the victim of firing at his vehicle although it had bullet holes in it as well.

From Archer and Lavergne, the two vehicles drove to First Avenue and then east on 31st Street, where a North Riverside police officer radioed that he was attempting to stop a tow truck with a heavily damaged front end.

Before he could pull over the truck, the other tow truck drove up and its driver told the officer that someone in the damaged tow truck had fired a gun at him. The damaged tow truck sped away into Riverside, where its driver abandoned it on Maplewood Road.

He was located near Woodside Road and Park Place, taken into custody at gunpoint and identified as the offender by the rival tow truck driver. The victim, however, stated that a passenger in the other tow truck had actually fired the shots at him.

Police searched for the passenger without success. Around midday on July 12, police searched the area around Maplewood Road for a weapon that may have been discarded but could not locate one.

Chicago police said the Chicago Ridge man had struck three parked cars near Archer and Lavergne and cited him for several traffic offenses. Riverside arrested the man on a probation violation warrant.

The 2000 Ford tow truck recovered by Riverside police is listed to Automotive Transport Specialist, which is headquartered in Robbins, police said. 

 

Items stolen from business

Brookfield police say that someone apparently drove through a chain securing the lot at Kago Inc., 9000 31st St., and removed several items before driving away during the overnight hours of July 8-9.

Taken from the bed of a Ford F250 pickup truck were a lawn roller and a 48-inch grading rake. Also taken from the lot were two Green Mountain boxwood trees, a Red Rosa shrub and a 2-foot length of railroad tie. A license plate was missing from a trailer.

 

Drug arrest

A 26-year-old Brookfield man was charged with reckless conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia after he allegedly shot up heroin in a stall of the men’s bathroom at the Brookfield Public Library on July 7 about 6:45 p.m.

Police said a library patron alerted staff to suspicious behavior after seeing shoelaces and an uncapped syringe on the floor of the bathroom. When police arrived, they contacted the man who was still in the stall. He reportedly told police that he had injected the heroin but did not have any more drugs on his person.

Police did find an open bag of unused hypodermic needles on his person and charged him with illegal possession of those items. The man reportedly was on probation at the time of his arrest.

Library Director Kimberly Coughran reportedly sent a letter to the man advising that he was banned from the library.

In September 2012, a 22-year-old Brookfield man died after overdosing on heroin inside the library’s bathroom.

 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, July 6-12, 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

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