Mayor questions long police chase that caused two crashes; suspect still at large

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A car crashed into a building in the 4200 block of North Ashland after it was hit by a car that was pursued by police from west suburban Lombard. | Network Video Productions

A suspect in a death investigation led police on a chase that started in west suburban Lombard and resulted in two crashes involving law enforcement vehicles in Chicago on Wednesday night before the suspect eluded authorities.

On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel questioned whether the chase was worth the risk.

“There’s a question there. At the end of the day, the [suspect in] the homicide in Lombard, driving through Chicago, I think, to the airport, still got away,” Emanuel said.

“One of the apartments that were hit was not far from where I live. So, there’s a real question. This always gets evaluated when there’s a police chase, which is about both getting and capturing a person who committed a violent crime and then, obviously, the risk to everybody else.”

Emanuel said he’s not about to “second-guess” Lombard police. But, he said, “There will be people that look at that.”

It all started when police were called about an apparent drug overdose death at a Lombard home about 2:30 p.m., according to Lombard police. Later, about 9:30 p.m., police attempted to stop a “person of interest” who was driving a 2002 Pontiac.

A chase ensued eastbound along the Eisenhower Expy. into Chicago, Lombard police said. Lombard officers ended their pursuit near Congress and Lower Wacker.

But Chicago Police took over the chase when the vehicle began driving through the city about 9:52 p.m., according to a statement from police.

A CPD squad car responding to the pursuit at 10:05 p.m. was involved in a crash with another vehicle at Congress and Leavitt on the Near West Side, police said. Two officers from that squad car were taken to Stroger Hospital, and the other vehicle’s driver was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, all with non-life-threatening injuries.

About 20 minutes later on the North Side, the Pontiac was hit by an Illinois State Police cruiser in the 4200 block of North Ashland at 10:23 p.m., authorities said. The Pontiac then hit a third vehicle, which in turn crashed into a building, going through a garden apartment window.

The driver and passenger from the third vehicle, both adults, were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition with minor lacerations, Chicago Police said. There was no structural damage to the building.

Chicago Police called off the pursuit at 10:25 p.m., according to a statement from police.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Alexander Diaz said after the cruiser rear-ended the wanted vehicle, it continued pursuing it after the crash. He said the ISP pursuit was called off at 10:30 p.m. at Roosevelt and Ashland.

No one was in custody as of late Thursday afternoon.

The Pontiac was found abandoned “many hours later” in northwest suburban Bensenville, Lombard police said. It was towed to the Lombard Police Department for processing.