Expressway carjacker escaped electronic monitoring, tried to disarm cop: prosecutors

Vahsean Davenport and a frame from the carjacking video. | Chicago Police Department; Live Action

CHICAGO — The Chicago man accused of carjacking a driver at gunpoint in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway is in even bigger trouble after he allegedly escaped from electronic monitoring for a month—until Chicago cops found him riding in yet another stolen car.

You may remember seeing a video of the hijacking. It quickly went viral in October 2022.

The footage, recorded by a motorist, showed three people running out of a car that was apparently involved in an auto accident along the outbound Dan Ryan Expressway just north of the Stevenson Expressway. Then one of them, wearing a black ski mask and toting a large weapon, tried to carjack passing vehicles.

At one point, the carjacker appeared to offer a fistful of cash to the man who was recording in exchange for a ride, but the man, who said he was on his way home from work, declined.

Moments later, the carjacker takes another driver’s vehicle at gunpoint.

“He’s hijacking the car! He’s hijacking the car right now,” the narrator exclaimed.

More than a year passed without any charges being filed in the case. That changed on September 21, when prosecutors secured an indictment against 20-year-old Vahsean Davenport.

Davenport, who was on electronic monitoring for a pending gun case, was given an arraignment date of October 3, the Illinois State Police announced in a September 29 Facebook post.

He didn’t show up.

In fact, prosecutors say, Davenport went missing from his electronic monitoring location on September 28, the day before ISP announced the charges online. For more than a month, nobody knew where he was, officials say.

Finally, around 11 p.m. last Wednesday, a Chicago Police Department helicopter began tracking an Infiniti Q50 reported stolen from Prospect Heights. The chopper crew followed the car, directing ground units to its location until it crashed near the 5200 block of West Chicago Avenue.

Davenport popped out of the passenger seat and tried to run away, prosecutors said.

They say he resisted an officer’s attempts to detain him and grabbed the cop’s holstered handgun. He “ignored” orders to let go of the weapon until the cop unleased a series of “mechanical strikes” to his face, a CPD arrest report said.

In a detention petition, prosecutors said Davenport’s electronic monitoring bracelet had been untraceable since October 2, when it lost battery power.

He is now charged with escaping from electronic monitoring, attempting to disarm a peace officer, possessing a controlled substance, and misdemeanor trespassing to a motor vehicle.

Judge Susana Ortiz granted the state’s detention request.

In addition to the new charges, Davenport will have to deal with the hijacking case and a separate case in which he is charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle and a firearm.

Gun charge

The stolen car and gun allegations stemmed from a March 23, 2023, incident that began when a woman stepped outside around 3 p.m. to see why her car alarm sounded in the 1300 block of West Crystal, near Goose Island. Officials said she found a man standing next to her car with a gun and another man under her car, apparently trying to remove the catalytic converter.

After threatening the woman with the gun, the men fled in an Infiniti Q70 that Chicago police records showed was stolen from Insight Hospital in Bronzeville two days earlier.

About 90 minutes after armed catalytic converter thieves threatened the woman, police found the Infiniti stuck in traffic on Lake Shore Drive near Chicago Avenue in Streeterville.

As officers approached the car, Davenport got out of the driver’s seat and started to walk away, prosecutors said in March. The cops who arrested him and a 15-year-old boy found four catalytic converters in the back seat and two more in the trunk, according to a Chicago police report.

During Davenport’s bond hearing on March 24, Judge Kelly McCarthy noted that, while prosecutors didn’t tell her about it, the Chicago police report mentioned the Infiniti was involved in an attempted carjacking, armored truck robberies, and catalytic converter theft.

Neither Davenport nor the 15-year-old were charged with the armored car heists or the carjacking.

But Davenport was charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle, theft, and possessing ammunition without a Firearm Owner’s ID card. The juvenile was charged with possessing a machine gun and other felonies.

“Mr. Davenport, you’re before the court. You’re 20 years old, and you have a larger criminal record than most adults that come before this court,” Judge McCarthy said, speaking about Davenport’s lengthy juvenile record. “Possession of a gun. Unlawful use of a weapon. Aggravated assault with a gun. Violation of order of protection. Vehicular hijacking. Unlawful use of a weapon again. Possession of a controlled substance. [Possessing a stolen motor vehicle] Class two. Six catalytic converters found in the car you’re seen running from when the police come up … I do find you’re a danger to the community, and your bond is going to reflect that.”

She ordered him to pay a $15,000 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring.

Prosecutors added unlawful use of a weapon by a felon charges on May 16. According to court records, two weeks later, he posted bond and went home on an ankle monitor.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com