Man gets 6 years for North Center shooting that ended with stolen car crash, foot chase by lunching cops

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been sentenced to six years for his role in the shooting of a driver in North Center two years ago.

Alexandru Mihai of Albany Park faced attempted murder charges in the case but instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm on Wednesday afternoon, court records show.

Mihai, 21, was driving a stolen Porsche when his passenger opened fire on the other driver in the 4200 block of North Western Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. on August 24, 2021, prosecutors said. The passenger has never been found.

The victim never interacted with Mihai or the gunman before he saw them traveling in traffic with him, prosecutors said. He told police the Porsche followed him from Irving Park Road onto Western Avenue and then pulled alongside his car. Officials said he heard a loud “bang,” felt pain, and looked up to see the Porsche’s passenger pointing a gun at him.

The victim hit his brakes, and the gunman allegedly fired two more shots from the Porsche as it continued northbound. Cops spotted the Porsche and tried to pull it over a short time later near Wilson and Ravenswood. But Mihai sped away from the police and crashed into a building near Giddings Plaza.

Alexandru Mihai and a photo of the crashed Porsche | CPD; Eric Tendian

The gunman ran into an alley and got away. Mihai bailed out of the driver’s seat and ran through Garcia’s Mexican restaurant, 4760 North Lincoln, where several cops were having lunch in the otherwise sleepy eatery. WGN aired footage of what happened next:

Investigators allegedly found two loaded handguns in the Porsche’s front passenger door area. Prosecutors said one had a defaced serial number and a 24-round ammunition magazine. Also reportedly found in the car, which was stolen from a residence in Aurora on August 13: 16 grams of cocaine, suspected Ecstasy, and suspected oxycodone.

Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer sentenced Mihai. Prosecutors dropped 19 felonies in his plea deal, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Just 20 days before the shooting, Mihai completed juvenile probation for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, prosecutors said.

In October 2020, prosecutors charged him with felony manufacture-delivery of cannabis after cops allegedly found 7 Xanax pills, one oxycodone pill, and 13 grams of cannabis in his car during a traffic stop in Ravenswood Manor, according to court records. He was also allegedly carrying $1,972 cash. Prosecutors dropped the case two months later, records show.

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