‘Sideshow’ driver who drove toward Chicago cop pleads guilty to a misdemeanor

CHICAGO — A suburban man who allegedly drove his vehicle toward a Chicago police officer during a “sideshow” caravan downtown last summer has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, according to court records.

Omar Daaboul, 20, was already on first-time gun offender probation when he encountered officers in the 500 block of South Clinton around 3:10 a.m. on August 27.

Cops were handling calls of drag racing and other dangerous driving when they saw Daaboul standing next to a car they believed was involved in the incident, prosecutor Sahin Jutla said last year.

CPD said officers saw Daaboul’s car doing donuts at the intersection of Columbus and Upper Wacker Drive before approaching him in the West Loop.

Omar Daaboul and two cars doing donuts at Wacker and Columbus on the night of his arrest. | Chicago Police Department; Snapchat

Daaboul got into his car as officers approached, and a CPD sergeant stood in front of it. But Daaboul allegedly put his car into reverse, striking a parked car, then drove toward the sergeant. He hit the brakes before hitting the officer, Jutla said.

Daaboul was charged in February 2022 with felony unlawful use of a weapon and received first-time gun offender probation, Jutla said.

Prosecutors charged Daaboul with three felony counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer. But they settled the case last week by allowing him to plead guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault on public property, according to court files.

Judge Diana Kenworth sentenced him to 270 days, which was satisfied by the time he spent in jail and on electronic monitoring before entering his plea.

Chicago police struggled to contain a steady stream of so-called car sideshows on the weekend Daaboul was arrested. At least two other men were taken into custody that weekend at sideshows.

In July 2022, the City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to mail a “notice of intent to impound” a vehicle to car owners whose vehicles are linked to the incidents. The action came after drivers did donuts in the middle of a West Loop intersection for more than 30 minutes on July 17. Similar incidents were reported across the city, with crowds sometimes injuring officers and damaging police vehicles.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. He can be reached at tim@cwbchicago.com