Woman helped gunman carjack driver on Chicago expressway, state police say

CHICAGO — A 21-year-old woman helped a man as he carjacked a driver at gunpoint on the Dan Ryan Expressway last year, according to the Illinois State Police. Video of the hijacking went viral within days.

Starreese Vickers, 21, of Calumet City, surrendered to face charges in the case on Thursday. Judge David Kelly ordered her detained to await trial during a court hearing Saturday afternoon, court records show.

Cook County court records show Vickers was free on a bond for criminal trespassing to a motor vehicle at the time of the carjacking. Prosecutors dropped the case about five weeks ago.

State police said Vickers helped Davenport hijack the Dodge Journey and rode away in the carjacked minivan with Davenport. She is charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking. The viral video “assisted” state police investigators in identifying Vickers and Davenport, according to an ISP statement.

At about 10:14 a.m. on October 14, 2022, a driver stopped on the Dan Ryan to record some unusual activity. Three people ran out of a car that was apparently involved in an auto accident in the outbound lanes just north of the Stevenson Expressway.

Then one of three people, wearing a black ski mask and toting a large weapon, tried to carjack passing vehicles. The carjacker appeared to offer a fistful of cash to the cameraman in exchange for a ride, but the man, who said he was on his way home from work, declined.

“Look at that rifle! “Look at that rifle!” yelled the man.

Then, the carjacking occurred.

“He’s hijacking the car! He’s hijacking the car right now!”

The man recording the action encouraged the other driver to speed away. Instead, the 34-year-old man exited his red Dodge Journey, put his hands in the air, and watched the hijacker climb behind the wheel of his vehicle. A woman wearing pink leggings, allegedly Vickers, jumped into the passenger seat before it sped away.

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

Starreese Vickers and a frame from the viral video. | Illinois State Police; LiveAction

Finally, early on Halloween morning, 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 said 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.

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

The stolen car and gun allegations Davenport was on electronic monitoring for 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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About Tim Hecke 328 Articles
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. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com