A man who stalked his ex-wife to a softball tournament at Riverside-Brookfield High School in May and then slashed the tires of her car has been sentenced to one year in state prison for violating an order of protection – in addition to an unrelated three-year sentence for aggravated assault of a peace officer.

Howard Lavaty, 55, of LaGrange Highlands, pleaded guilty to both charges at a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on Nov. 17. 

According to police, Lavaty used a relative’s cellphone to track his ex-wife’s whereabouts and followed her to RBHS, where her daughter was playing in a softball tournament. Surveillance cameras caught Lavaty puncturing the tires of his wife’s car.

The next day, police were able to track Lavaty to a restaurant in the 5500 block of LaGrange Road and arrested Lavaty while he was eating lunch. At the time he vandalized his wife’s car, Lavaty was transporting 74 knives and a replica handgun in his car, said police.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said after Lavaty’s arrest that he “was definitely on the edge of causing serious bodily harm to his ex-wife.”

Lavaty had been arrested previously for violating orders of protection and domestic battery, according to police. In February he had been charged with aggravated battery to police officers and firefighters in Westchester.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections’ website, Lavaty is eligible for parole in March 2019, followed by a period of court supervision that will last until March 2023.

Flag tattoo sparks altercation

Police responded to Phil’s Sports Bar and Grill on Nov. 21 at 3:50 p.m. after someone reported a fight between two men there. According to the police report, the fight was sparked during an argument over politics – specifically a 50-year-old LaGrange man criticizing a Confederate flag tattoo sported by a 54-year-old Brookfield man.

The tattooed man reportedly shoved the other man to the ground during the altercation. The bartender banned the man with the tattoo from the bar, and police issued him a no trespassing notice. The victim declined to file charges.

Riverside corner a crash magnet

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the village may consider additional signage and new roadway striping near the intersection of Woodside Road, Kimbark Road and Park Place, where two more crashes were reported within a matter days last week. 

The difficult, complicated intersection has seen many crashes, particularly involving impaired drivers, through the years.

On Nov. 19 at 10:20 p.m., police responded to the intersection after a 2001 Nissan driven by a 22-year-old Cicero man slammed into a landscaping bed at the corner of Kimbark and Park Place.

The driver, who was charged with driving under the influence had a blood-alcohol content of .16, which is twice the legal limit of .08, police said. When emergency personnel responded, the driver was still in the vehicle. The engine was revving and tires spinning so fast that they caught on fire.

On Nov. 22 at about 3:05 a.m., a black sedan ran down the traffic light at the intersection of Kimbark and Park Place, police said, based on a witness statement. The vehicle continued on toward the center of the village, but police were unable to locate a suspect.

The intersection was also the site of a crash in July 2008, two crashes a day apart in July 2009, a crash in March 2016 and a crash in January 2017. 

Attempted stolen vehicle

Brookfield police responded to the 4300 block of Arthur Avenue at about 3:50 p.m. Nov. 23 after a resident called to complain that someone had broken into her vehicle, which was parked on the street and had been last seen undisturbed about 45 minutes earlier.

Police reported that someone had pried a window away from the weather stripping to gain access. Inside, the steering column was damaged, leading police to believe someone meant to steal the vehicle.

Christmas lights stolen

A pair of Brookfield residents called police last week to report that someone had stolen laser-light Christmas decorations from their front yards.

On Nov. 25, a resident of the 3200 block of Oak Avenue called to report that the small 6-by-8-inch plastic light tube, which was secured to the ground by a plastic stake and illuminated the front of the house, had been taken overnight.

On the morning of Nov. 27, a resident of the 9100 block of 30th Street called police to report that a Laser Light Show brand unit had been taken from his front lawn overnight.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Nov. 17-26, 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