Jose Morales

Riverside police charged a Berwyn man with felony aggravated fleeing/eluding police and may file more charges pending a toxicology report after the man fled from a traffic stop in downtown Riverside and crashed his 2018 Chevy Traverse into a tree at Longcommon and Herrick roads on Aug. 1 at about 1 a.m.

The driver of the Chevy, Jose Morales, 31, reportedly was not injured in the rollover crash that damaged a fire hydrant, a tree and two street signs. Police took him into custody as he reportedly attempted to flee the crash scene on foot. A male passenger in the vehicle did run from the scene of the crash and police unsuccessfully attempted to find that person using a bloodhound from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police.

During a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on Aug. 3, a judge set Morales’ bond at $50,000. Morales was also wanted on a pair of warrants at the time of his arrest in Riverside, said Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley. Morales remains in custody at Cook County Jail awaiting trial.

In addition, police charged Morales with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. According to Buckley, police located an unloaded 9 mm handgun in a bag containing items identifying Morales as its owner. Police also reported finding an empty beer can inside the vehicle and cited Morales for numerous traffic offenses.

According to police, the incident unfolded after an officer on patrol observed a vehicle traveling south on Longcommon Road at a high rate of speed across the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks. The vehicle then reportedly failed to stop at the stop sign in front of the township hall before turning left onto Riverside Road.

The officer pulled over the vehicle at Riverside and Gage roads, but as the officer exited his patrol car, Morales reportedly took off eastbound on Gage Road, reaching speeds of more than 60 mph. The Chevy then turned north on Delaplaine Road and back over the BNSF tracks to Longcommon Road, where the officer terminated his pursuit.

Morales then reportedly drove south on Longcommon Road at a high rate of speed until the vehicle left the roadway and struck a fire hydrant and then a tree in front of the large condo building at Longcommon and Herrick roads.

The impact of the crash sent the vehicle across Longcommon Road and into the triangle park at Longcommon and Akenside Road, where it came to rest on its roof. Police observed two people exit the vehicle there and apprehended the driver, Morales.

Buckley said Morales was uncooperative, but the police report indicated that Morales did tell police he had been drinking at a bar after work prior to traveling to Riverside with a friend. Morales also reportedly denied driving the Chevy.

Police at this time do not know who the passenger was or the extent of that person’s injuries, if any. It’s likely that person was picked up by a third party as police made their search.

Police did turn over the crashed vehicle’s passenger side air bag to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab to see if DNA evidence can identify who was in that seat.

Paramedics transported Morales to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn for evaluation and obtained a blood sample to test for the presence of any intoxicants. Buckley said police intend to subpoena those test results to determine if other charges are warranted.