CHICAGO — Takeovers of Chicago streets by drag racers, stunt drivers, and crowds of spectators were all the rage in 2022. They’re still happening, although less frequently and with more arrests than in the past.
On Monday, two men were jailed after Chicago cops arrested them at a street takeover downtown. Officials say one of them had a gun, and the other, who was convicted in 2021 of striking and killing a 2-year-old in a car crash, is charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle.
CPD’s “car caravan and drag racing team” went to the 800 block of South Jefferson to handle a so-called car “sideshow” around 10 p.m. on Labor Day. Among the cars gathered in the area was a 2014 Chevy Impala with “extensive decorative decals,” an officer later wrote in an arrest report.
Because the car didn’t have front or back plates—a common tactic participants use to avoid being identified by police and city surveillance systems—the cops ordered the driver to stop, the report said.
The officers placed spike strips in front of the car’s rear tires and warned the driver, 42-year-old Marcus Douglas of Crown Point, not to try to drive away or his tires would be deflated, according to the report.
Nonetheless, Douglas did move the car forward, and his tire went flat. The police arrested him for fleeing and eluding. While searching Douglas, police found a loaded handgun, the arrest report said. He’s charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person with a previous gun conviction. Judge Kelly McCarthy released him on a $500 bail deposit.
About two minutes later, just a few steps away, officers arrested Freddie Jones, 28. Police charged him with receiving or possessing a stolen motor vehicle, driving on a suspended license, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, according to CPD records.
Jones pleaded guilty in 2021 to reckless homicide with a motor vehicle. The charge stemmed from a June 2018 car crash in Bronzeville that left a 2-year-old child dead, according to contemporaneous reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jones had just passed a written exam and was days from taking the physical exam to become a Chicago police officer when he crashed into another car near 49th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, the paper reported.
Officials claimed Jones ran a red light at 55 mph and slammed into a woman’s car as it crossed the intersection, sending it into a light pole. Skylar Dixon, a 2-year-old girl in the woman’s car, died three days later. A boy in the vehicle remained in critical condition for a week. And the woman who was driving was seriously injured, the Sun-Times reported.
Jones, who was not hurt, stayed at the scene and helped the woman and children get out of their crashed car. Prosecutors said at the time that Jones’ license had been suspended three times for traffic infractions.
In 2021, Jones pleaded guilty to reckless homicide with a motor vehicle in exchange for a three-year sentence from Judge Neera Walsh, which was satisfied by the time he spent on electronic monitoring before trial, according to court records.