Man carjacked salesman during Land Rover test drive, officials say

Chicago — Prosecutors say the man who carjacked a Northwest Side auto dealership salesman during a test drive last year was caught because he gave the dealership a fake driver’s license that bore the picture from his real driver’s license.

A quick search of the Secretary of State’s database identified the man as 22-year-old Jaden Echols, prosecutor Sarah Dale-Schmidt said during Echols’ bond hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Jaden Echols | Cook County sheriff’s office; Google

When Echols arrived at Mike Anderson Chevrolet, 5333 West Irving Park in Portage, to test drive a Land Rover on December 3, he handed the staff a driver’s license bearing his picture and the name “Jay Succic,” according to Dale-Schmidt.

The car salesman made a copy of the license and hopped into the Land Rover’s passenger seat to go for a spin with Echols.

But Echols ignored the salesman’s instructions on where to turn and eventually pulled over on the ramp to the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park Road, where another car was idling, Dale-Schmidt continued. He had “non-verbal” communications with people in the other vehicle, then got out and ordered the salesman to exit the Land Rover, she said.

Upon seeing the handle of a gun in Echols’ waistband, the salesman complied. Dale-Schmidt said Echols took the salesman’s phone, turned it off, and warned him not to call the police before driving away with the Land Rover, followed by the second car.

Police found the Land Rover in a University of Chicago parking garage about three weeks later.

Investigators searched state records for a driver’s license photo matching the one on the copy made by the dealership before the test drive. The system matched it to Echols and provided his real name, address, and other details, Dale-Schmidt said.

At the time of the carjacking, Echols was wanted for failing to appear in court for a pending fraudulent ID case. Officials caught up with him this month, and a judge placed him on electronic monitoring. Police went to his electronic monitoring location this week and arrested him on the vehicular hijacking charge.

Dale-Schmidt said he admitted to giving the dealership a fake ID and carjacking the salesman. He allegedly told investigators that he had an extended ammunition magazine sticking out of his pocket and used his phone to look like a gun.

During Echols’ bond hearing on Wednesday, an assistant public defender said he is studying to get his paramedic certification. He has three kids, works in IT, and volunteers for a Black excellence program for college students.

Judge Kelly McCarthy granted the state’s request to hold Echols without bail.

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