Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- This is a case of an alleged hit-and-run offender walking into the police station and asking for the vehicle he allegedly abandoned.
A Chicago Heights man allegedly struck two vehicles on Monee Road with his truck shortly after midnight on August 5. He then drove off, according to police. Finally, he allegedly ran off into the woods when his vehicle rolled to a stop. He allegedly told officers that he fled because he was afraid his vehicle, a 2006 black Infinity QX56, would explode.
The next evening, just before the investigating officer started his next shift, the alleged hit-and-run offender walked into the Park Forest Police Department.
Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through August 14, 2023, Part II
Police arrested Cornelio Molina-Ordaz, 33, 1 E. 23rd St. #2N, Chicago Heights, on August 5 and charged him with:
- Ticket 2945908 625 ILCS 5/11-601(a) – fail to reduce speed to avoid accident,
- Ticket 2945909 625 ILCS 5/11-402(a) – – leaving scene of an accident,
- Ticket 2945910 625 ILCS 5/3-708 – suspended registration,
- Ticket 2945911 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a) – improper lane usage,
- Ticket 2945912 625 ILCS 5/3-707(a) – no insurance.
A Midnight Hit-and-Run Investigation Begins
SouthCom dispatched an address on Monee Road at 12:28 a.m. on August 5 to investigate a hit-and-run accident. While responding, SouthCom Dispatch told officers a neighbor called and said that a red SUV hit his neighbor’s vehicle. He said that the vehicle kept going eastbound toward Western Avenue, according to the report. A second caller told SouthCom that someone hit his red 2022 Nissan, according to the report.
It turns out it was a third vehicle that allegedly struck these two. The alleged hit-and-run offender then fled, police said.
Police: Hit-and-Run Offender Abandons Vehicle
Police learned that the alleged offender abandoned his vehicle, a 2006 black Infinity QX56, near the intersection of Monee Road and Indianwood Boulevard. He then allegedly walked away, according to police.
Officers took information from people who described him.
Feet, Drones, and a Dog
Police began a search on foot of the wooded area south of Monee Road, relying on another tip from someone else.
One officer got out of his patrol vehicle and heard rustling and branches breaking within the forest, according to the report. He identified him as a member of the Park Forest Police Department and ordered the individual making the noise to stop running, according to police.
No one came forward.
Additional Park Forest units responded to assist in locating the alleged offender, according to the report.
Another officer deployed one of the department’s drones. Even with the assistance of the drone, police were still unable to locate the alleged offender.
A Commander who responded asked that a tow company respond to the scene. This Commander removed the spent airbag from the steering wheel. He asked SouthCom if there were any local K-9 officers that could respond to track the suspect, according to police.
K-9 Officer Luna Arrives
Shortly thereafter, K-9 Luna and an officer from the Lynnwood Police Department responded to the alleged offender’s vehicle to begin a track. Even K-9 Officer Luna could not find the alleged offender, according to the report.
So police went to homes on Monee Road to speak with the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident. A neighbor said he got in one of his vehicles and drove toward where he thought the alleged offender had gone.
He said he was able to catch up, according to police.
This witness said he could see the alleged hit-and-run offender “wobbling” and even got close enough to smell alcohol coming from the man, according to police. This person said he tried to apprehend the alleged offender, telling him to stop, according to police.
The alleged offender looked at the neighbor and then ran away into the forest, according to police.
This man said he would be able to identify the alleged offender if he saw him again, according to police.
Nothing more happened in those early morning hours, according to the report.
Later That Same Day Another Night Shift Begins
Later that day, the officer leading up this investigation returned to work for the 6 p.m. Roll Call and his next night shift.
He learned that the registered owner of the abandoned vehicle, Cornelio Molina-Ordaz, actually came to the Park Forest Police Department just prior to 6 p.m.. Mr. Molina-Ordaz asked about his truck, according to the report.
Officials at the station told him that the officer in charge of that case would be starting his next shift soon. They told him to come back at 6:30 p.m., according to the report.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz did return at 6:30 p.m. Police escorted him into a front unlocked interview room.
He was not in custody at the time, according to police.
Police: Alleged Hit-and-Run Offender Said Someone Stole His Truck
The investigating officer sat down with Mr. Molina-Ordaz and another officer who could speak Spanish.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz told the investigating officer that someone stole his car while he was horseback riding in Monee on August 4, according to the report. He told officers he had last seen his truck around 8 PM that night, August 4. Mr. Molina-Ordaz said he noticed it missing around 10 p.m. that same night.
He said he called the Monee Police Department. They told him they would be unable to take a report over the phone. On the morning of August 4, 2023, Mr. Molina-Ordaz also got in touch with the Chicago Heights Police Department. He said he got in touch with the Will County Sheriff’s Office too, according to the report. Will County told Mr. Molina-Ordaz to reach out to the Park Forest Police Department. They told him that was where the vehicle was located, according to police.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz said he had no idea who might have taken his truck, according to the report. He mentioned that he wanted to get his wallet and keys back, according to police.
The investigating officer asked if Mr. Molina-Ordaz would consent to a DNA test and he agreed, according to police. The investigating officer then collected the DNA swabs for evidence, according to the report.
When police asked him how he knew Park Forest Police recovered his vehicle, he stated that the Monee Police Department told him his truck was involved in an accident, according to police. He further stated that neither the Monee Police Department nor the Chicago Heights Police Department would take a report of a stolen motor vehicle since the Park Forest Police Department already had the truck, according to the report.
Alleged Offender Allegedly Confesses
At this point, the officer who spoke Spanish then took over the interview. Mr. Molina-Ordaz subsequently admitted, according to police, that he was the driver and sole occupant of the truck at the time of the accident. He allegedly said that he collided with the vehicles, three in all, after attempting to avoid a deer on the road, according to police.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz said that he was not drinking but fled because he was scared, according to police. He allegedly stated that once he hit the first vehicle, he closed his eyes as his vehicle kept moving, according to the report.
The man told police he thought his truck would explode, according to police. He allegedly said his brakes no longer functioned properly and the truck came to rest on its own further down the road, according to police.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz said that no one came to assist, render aid, or attempt to stop him, according to police.
Once he heard that someone was calling the police, he allegedly said he fled from the scene because he was scared, according to police.
He told officers brother picked him up from an unknown location and took him away from the scene, according to police.
After his alleged admission, police took Mr. Molina-Ordaz into custody. Police turned over most of his property to his girlfriend, according to the report. Officers processed him and took him to the lockup area where they inventoried the rest of his property.
Mr. Molina-Ordaz did not wish to make any phone calls, according to the report.
Police issued him the tickets noted above and released him on a $3000 I-bond, according to the report.
About Police Reports
Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those police arrested and charged committed any offenses. We report on what is in the reports that the police furnish to us. As those accused are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.
eNews Park Forest has continuously published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.
Presumption of Innocence
An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. The law presumes all those who police arrest are innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. Suppose you find your name in the police reports. Our policy is that we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g., “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.
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Police captured all the incidents in this report on body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. Officials abbreviate these devices typically as BWC in the reports.
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