A Chicago man who covered his license plate with the message “Don’t embarrass yourself CPD,” sped away from Chicago cops and crashed into an oncoming car in the medical district, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Judge Maryam Ahmad fumed at the allegations levied against Alonso Terrazo, 21, saying she wouldn’t be surprised if the other driver was on their way to work at a nearby hospital. She set bail at a whopping $250,000 for Terrazo, who has never been arrested as an adult.
Cops tried to pull Terrazo over in the 1000 block of South Ashland for two minor traffic violations around 1 a.m. on the Fourth of July. Six strips of tape reading “Don’t embarrass yourself CPD” obscured Terrazo’s plate, prosecutor Joseph Sorrentino told Ahmad.
He said Terrazo’s 2008 Accura sped away from cops and ran a red light, prompting the officers to terminate the traffic stop in the interest of public safety.
But Sorrentino said that Terrazo kept going, driving north in the southbound lanes, passing vehicles, and dashing through a red light at Roosevelt and Ashland.
Terrazo allegedly blew another red light at Taylor and Ashland, slamming into a car crossing the intersection. Both vehicles were severely damaged. Terrazo’s car spun out and came to a stop a half-block away. Sorrentino said the woman driving the other vehicle would be okay, but she has a wrist injury.
After cops arrested Terrazo, he allegedly told them he put the tape on his plates because he didn’t want anyone running the number.
His defense attorney told Ahmad that he plans to start GED classes this fall and has a job interview next week.
He’ll need to post a $25,000 bail deposit and go on electronic monitoring if he wants to make the interview.
Prosecutors charged him with aggravated fleeing and eluding causing bodily injury, aggravated fleeing and eluding by disregarding multiple traffic control devices, aggravated fleeing and eluding police by concealing registration plates, and misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, attempted fleeing and eluding of police, and driving an uninsured vehicle causing bodily harm.
Ahmad said he is also cited for “at least 15” traffic violations.
Chicago police executives have sharply reduced the reasons officers can pursue vehicles in the city. The department’s general orders prohibit cops from pursuing anyone for a traffic offense other than DUI. And it states explicitly that CPD will not discipline any member for ending a motor vehicle pursuit. If they continue a pursuit, though, they’ll be held responsible for anything that goes wrong.
More and more drivers seem to be aware of those restrictions.
On Instagram, a man piloting a Dodge Challenger SRT practically begs Chicago police officers and Illinois State Police troopers to pull him over while recording their reactions for social media. When they do try to pull him over, he compliantly rolls to a stop—sometimes—then jets away as the cops step out of their squad car to approach him. And when the cops don’t try, he almost sounds disappointed.
Posting as the “unknown driver,” he once stepped out of his car while cops idled nearby to show Instagram viewers his license plate: a custom-made placard bearing his Instagram handle and a warning for cops: “DON’T CHASE BOY.”
Chicago has paid out tens of millions of dollars for lives lost and injuries caused by pursuits that ended with crashes. CPD supervisors have become so skittish about the possibility of something going wrong they’ve ordered cops to stop pursuing a car suspected of carrying wanted murderers.
In observance of the policy, cops downtown decided not to pursue a stolen BMW wanted for a series of armed robberies last May. Within an hour of that decision, men who emerged from the BMW shot and robbed Dakotah Earley in Lincoln Park.
But state police troopers are given more leeway and often take the lead when cops spot a hijacked car in traffic or someone wanted for another serious crime.