Charges filed, gun recovered, after hijacked car crashes in Loop

Police recovered a handgun and a carjacked SUV that will now require a little bodywork after a hijacker sped away from cops and crashed into a pole on Lower Wacker Drive, according to police and prosecutors

It all started when the owner of the blue Mazda CX30 pulled into a gas station earlier this week and lightly tapped the back end of a car that was in front of him, prosecutors said Saturday. Tyler Stinnett, 21, allegedly stepped out of the other car and demanded money from the Mazda’s driver. He then got into the Mazda’s front passenger seat and grabbed the driver, prosecutors said.

Tyler Stinnett and the gun, ammunition magazine, and laser sight that police say they found inside a carjacked vehicle. | CPD

As the two men struggled, the victim saw a shiny object that he thought was a gun in Stinnett’s waistband, according to prosecutors. Stinnett allegedly threatened the man and implied that he had a gun as another offender got into the Mazda’s back seat.

When the driver got out of the car, Stinnett returned to the first car while the accomplice slipped behind the wheel of the Mazda and drove away, prosecutors said. Surveillance cameras reportedly captured the entire incident.

Around 9:15 p.m. Thursday, a CPD license plate reader detected the stolen Mazda traveling southbound on Lake Shore Drive near Chicago Avenue. Cops moved in and tried to pull the car over on Lower Wacker Drive. But the driver sped away — until one of the car’s tires blew out, and the car slammed into a concrete pillar on the subterranean roadway under Clark Street. The driver bailed out and ran.

WBBM radio news anchor Brandon Ison shared a photo of the crash scene on Twitter:

Police found Stinnett wearing clothes identical to the driver nearby. Prosecutors said he had the Mazda’s key fob in his pants pocket. Cops allegedly found a loaded handgun with an extended ammunition magazine inside the wrecked car. The carjacking victim identified Stinnett, too, prosecutors said.

A public defender said Stinnett lives in Hillside and has two children, with a third on the way. He’s a high school graduate, studies carpentry at Triton College, and has worked as a forklift driver for three years, the attorney said.

Now, he’s charged with Class X vehicular hijacking, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, driving on a suspended license, and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.

Judge Charles Beach set bail at $150,000. Stinnett will need to post a 10% deposit bond and go onto electronic monitoring to get out of jail, Beach said.

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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