Paroled Old Town robber charged with carjacking woman and crashing her car while drunk

Daniel Vargas | IDOC

It’s not every day that someone makes their fourth appearance in CWBChicago reporting. But today’s the day for Daniel Vargas.

Vargas, 24, was paroled in January after serving less than half of a six-year sentence he received for robbing a cab driver in November 2017, according to Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) records.

Now, prosecutors say Vargas carjacked a woman and then crashed her vehicle in the Loop while driving drunk this week.

Around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Vargas allegedly crashed his own car at a stoplight in the 300 block of South Ashland. He got out, ran to another car that was stopped in traffic, and began pulling its 26-year-old driver from behind the wheel, prosecutors said. Once the woman was out of her Subaru Legacy, Vargas reportedly climbed in and sped away.

About 15 minutes later, Vargas crashed the woman’s car outside The Wit Hotel, 201 North State, and ran into a nearby Chick-fil-A, according to the state’s allegations. Police arrested him moments later.

Cops said Vargas appeared intoxicated, slurred his speech, and had glassy eyes. He was “too combative” for officers to conduct a field sobriety test, according to prosecutors.

He is charged with vehicular hijacking, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, driving without a license, driving without insurance, and traffic violations.

After hearing the state’s allegations, Judge Mary Marubio set Vargas’ bail at $500,000 and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post bond.

“I hope he will not be able to post” bond, Marubio said, while noting she would hold him without bail on the case if she could.

IDOC issued a warrant that will hold Vargas on a parole violation for his 2017 robbery conviction.

In that case, Vargas was riding a cab through Old Town when he asked to be dropped off near the Sedgwick Brown Line station in November 2017. Vargas allegedly pulled out a knife when the cabbie asked to be paid and pushed it into the driver’s back while demanding money. The 36-year-old driver gave Vargas $92 and pointed out that the incident was being recorded on a camera.

Vargas pulled the video camera out of the car and ran away, police said. But he didn’t get far. Two Good Samaritans who saw the whole thing go down captured Vargas and held him for cops.

Judge Earl Hoffenberg sentenced Vargas to six years in prison. With credit for time served and Illinois’ standard 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, Vargas’ parole date was set for November 9, 2020. Nonetheless, he managed to get released even earlier — in January, according to state records.

Vargas made his first appearance on CWBChicago in September 2016 when he was allegedly caught with a fake permanent resident card and fake Social Security card after police arrested him for pinching a woman’s butt in Lakeview.

The woman called cops and happened to see Vargas still standing across the street when police arrived to talk with her in the 1100 block of West Belmont. Police discovered the allegedly bogus identifications when they processed Vargas at the police station.

Cops said Vargas admitted to buying the documents “on 26th Street” for $80 in 2014 so he could seek employment.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is