Police capture carjackers who ran from North Side crash into park

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A car reportedly going the wrong way crashed on Irving Park Road at Recreation Drive on Monday morning. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Two 17-year-old boys were charged with carjacking after a police chased that ended in a crash on the North Side on Monday morning.

Both are charged with felony aggravated vehicular hijacking, and the driver was also charged with damage to public property, attempting to elude police, negligent driving and driving without a license, police said.

The two teens approached someone in a car around 9:52 a.m. in the 7700 block of North Hermitage Avenue, demanded the vehicle, and then drove away, Chicago Police said.

Nearby detectives spotted the car in traffic, which led to a police chase that ended when the vehicle crashed into a pole at Irving Park Road and North Marine Drive, on the border between Lake View and Uptown.

The car, with “at least a dozen squad cars in pursuit,” crashed near the ramp from Irving Park, according to a witness, who said both airbags in the car inflated, and a pair of white Nike gym shoes could be seen on the ground nearby.

Bruce Topp, 59, of Lake Villa, whose daughter lives in a building nearby, was playing with his 5-year-old granddaughter in Morrie Mages Playground about 10:15 a.m. when the “bad guy” ran through with police in pursuit.

“My granddaughter was swinging and he ran through the park,” Topp said.

Police then ran in from the other side of the park, caught him, and “told him to get on the ground,” he said. The officer had his gun out, pointed at the offender.

“He didn’t struggle. He laid on the ground and put his arms out. There were lots and lots of police and they really did a great job,” Topp said.

“We exited the park and watched them search the park with the dog,” he said, adding he did not see a weapon on the offender, but, “I think that’s probably what they’re looking for with the dog.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Topp said.