A man who led police on a wild chase southbound on Harlem Avenue from River Forest and then westbound on East Burlington Street where it ended in a fiery crash during the early morning hours of Jan. 7 remained hospitalized awaiting charges on Jan. 9, according to Riverside Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley.

The pursuit unfolded shortly before the offender’s vehicle crashed into a tree at 12:45 a.m. in the 100 block of East Burlington Street, just west of Cowley Road. 

Buckley said early on the afternoon of Jan. 9 that no Riverside police were involved in the pursuit and crash. At the time, Riverside officers were responding to an unrelated incident on East Quincy Street, Buckley said and learned of the crash when Berwyn police radioed them.

The driver of the offending vehicle reportedly appeared to be intoxicated, Buckley said, and DUI charges were pending.

Security video shared on Facebook showed a brief part of the incident, where the car is seen spinning out of control while southbound in the 3200 block of Harlem Avenue, crossing over the northbound lanes of traffic and slamming rear-end first through the front wall and all the way into Upscale Audio Exchange, 3225 Harlem Ave. in Berwyn.

The car remains inside the store for several seconds, with a police cruiser stopped directly in front of the store, before accelerating out of the store and back onto southbound Harlem Avenue.

The car then sped down East Burlington Street toward downtown Riverside, hitting “several trees,” according to Buckley. Berwyn police pulled the driver, who was alone, from the car and used fire extinguishers to put out a fire in the engine compartment.

According to Buckley, the car did not appear to be stolen. River Forest Police Chief James O’Shea told the Landmark that the incident began as an attempted traffic stop on Harlem Avenue near Washington Boulevard.

The officer following the vehicle reported that it was maintaining a normal speed while it continued south but began to accelerate near Roosevelt Road, where River Forest police terminated the attempt to stop it. 

It’s not clear when Berwyn police began pursuing the vehicle. Berwyn police did not return a phone call from the Landmark.

DUI suspected in Brookfield crash

Brookfield police charged a 34-year-old Chicago man with driving under the influence of alcohol after he allegedly crashed head on into a car stopped in a left turn lane at the intersection of 47th Street and Eberly Avenue on Jan. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The man was behind the wheel of a silver Chevy SUV that was traveling eastbound on 47th Street when it reportedly drove through the stop sign at the intersection, crossed the centerline and rammed into the front of a silver Chevy sedan. The impact of the crash sent the sedan backward into the front end of a black Nissan also stopped in the turn lane.

The only person injured in the crash was the driver of the Chevy SUV, who was taken by paramedics to the hospital for treatment. According to the police report, officers said the SUV’s cabin smelled faintly of cannabis and located a red plastic cup containing suspected alcohol in the front cup holder. Police also reported finding a bag containing about a dozen unidentified pills they suspected of being ecstasy and sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for testing.

In addition to DUI, police cited the driver of SUV with five traffic offenses.

Theft from vehicle

North Riverside police responded to the 2500 block of 8th Avenue on Jan. 3 after a resident called to report that someone had entered his vehicle, which was unlocked and parked in front of the house, in the prior two or three days.

The contents of the vehicle had been rummaged through, according to the police report, but the only item reported missing from the vehicle was the victim’s insurance identification card.

Purse stolen

A person, who was not identified, went to North Riverside police on the afternoon of Jan. 2 to report that while she was trying on jackets at J.C. Penney at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, at about 3:30 p.m., someone stole her purse.

The victim told police that her husband had hung the brown Michael Kors purse on a rack while helping her try on a jacket. When they turned back around, the purse, containing credit cards, a driver’s license and an iPhone, was gone.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Jan. 3-8, 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