The party bus driver who is accused of crashing into an ambulance and 17 other cars while driving through heavy traffic in Lakeview on Saturday was airlifted to a hospital four years ago after being thrown from a sports car during a 100 mph police chase in Indiana, according to court records and a contemporaneous newspaper report.
Gregory Baldwin, now 45, eventually recovered and pleaded guilty to resisting police in exchange for a home detention sentence, court records show.
Baldwin was driving a 1993 Camaro at over 100 mph in a 55 mph zone when Porter County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull him over early on September 12, 2018, according to an archived report by the Times of Northwest Indiana.
Baldwin allegedly fled from police, even after police punctured two of the car’s tires with spike strips, the report said. The paper said he later lost control of the car, crashed, and was ejected from the vehicle.
A medical helicopter flew Baldwin to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment.
Porter County prosecutors charged Baldwin with resisting law enforcement and reckless driving at an unreasonable speed, according to court records. He also received ten traffic citations.
Baldwin pleaded guilty to the resisting charge, which is a felony, and admitted to violating the probation he was on for aiding in dealing a narcotic, according to a court filing. Records show he received a two-year sentence for the resisting charge and a consecutive one-year sentence for the narcotics case. The judge’s order said Baldwin was to serve his time in home confinement.
On Saturday afternoon, Baldwin was driving a party bus northbound in heavy traffic on Broadway near Addison when he maneuvered into oncoming traffic, even as a witness tried to get him to stop, according to prosecutor Steven Haamid. A Chicago police traffic crash report said Baldwin had just dropped off his passengers at Wrigley Field.
He sideswiped a Chicago Fire Department ambulance that was stopped in the roadway with its lights flashing, then collided with at least 17 other vehicles as he plowed his way to Lakeshore Drive, Haamid alleged.
A motorist followed the party bus and kept 911 operators updated on its location until Chicago police cornered it in a circle drive at the mouth of Belmont Harbor.
He is charged with felony criminal damage to government property—the ambulance—and misdemeanor counts of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. He also received traffic citations.
Judge Charles Beach set bail at $40,000 and permitted Baldwin to return home upon posting a 10% bail deposit.
Haamid told Beach about Baldwin’s felony convictions in Indiana, but he did not tell the judge that the resisting case allegedly involved a high-speed pursuit. Prosecutors often have difficulty collecting the details of out-of-county cases in time for bail hearings.