Felony Fleeing/Eluding: Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through June 19, 2023
Felony Aggravated Fleeing/Eluding
Police arrested Sterling D. Veal, 33, 160 Central Ave., Matteson, on June 6 and charged him with two felony counts of aggravated fleeing/eluding a peace officer. Police also issued traffic citations charging improper display of registration, aggravated speeding, disobeying a traffic control signal, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while license was suspended, unlawful possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle, and operation of an uninsured. Police charged him additionally with one count of resisting/obstructing a peace officer.
An officer patrolling at 9:05 PM saw a silver Buick sedan going eastbound on Sauk Trail that allegedly had no front-mounted registration, according to police. He noted that the vehicle also did not have rear-mounted registration, according to police.
The officer conducted a U-turn and began following eastbound on Sauk Trail. The officer caught up to the vehicle as it approached Western Avenue. He activated the emergency lighting on his patrol vehicle to curb the Buick.
Alleged Felony Eluding
The car immediately began to increase speed and continued eastbound on Sauk Trail from Western Avenue, according to police. The officer sounded the emergency siren on his patrol vehicle and informed SouthCom Dispatch of the pursuit. He also began broadcasting the pursuit to the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network as the chase was leaving the geographical limits of Park Forest.
The officer followed the car eastbound on Sauk Trail at speeds allegedly above 84 mph in a posted 45 mph zone. All the while, the Buick increased distance from the officer’s patrol vehicle, according to police.
When the car reached the intersection of Sauk Trail and Ashland Avenue, the Buick allegedly disobeyed a red traffic signal and crashed into a traffic signal pole on the southeast corner of the intersection, according to police. The car then continued into the woods, where it came to rest after driving into the overgrown wooded area, according to police.
Driver Allegedly Flees into the Woods
At this point, the driver, later identified as Sterling Veal, allegedly fled from the vehicle on foot into the woods, according to police. The pursuing officer ran after Mr. Veal, ordering him several times to show his hands, according to police. Mr. Veal allegedly continued to run from the officer through the thick brush, according to police.
Eventually, Mr. Veal tripped and fell to the ground, according to police. According to the report, the officer ordered Mr. Veal to put his hands behind his back at gunpoint. Mr. Veal complied, and the officer took him into custody without further resistance.
After the officer took Mr. Veal into custody, he allegedly said repeatedly that he “f***ed up,” according to the report.
The arresting officer escorted Mr. Veal from the woods and secured him into the rear of his patrol vehicle, according to police. According to the report, Mr. Veal sustained minor cuts to his arms from running through the thorns but allegedly refused medical attention.
After the officer read Mr. Veal his Miranda Rights, Mr. Veal reportedly said that he ran because he didn’t have a license, according to police. He told the officer that his license was suspended. Police conducted an inventory of the Buick before the towing company took it away and found two bags containing approximately 10 g of suspect cannabis, according to the report.
Police arrested Bernard V. Phillips, 41, 121 Blackhawk Dr., Park Forest, on June 7 concerning two outstanding warrants.
On June 6, Detective Commander Elliott emailed fellow officers that Bernard Phillips was wanted on two separate arrest warrants and might be living on Blackhawk Drive, according to the report.
Two officers went to that address on Blackhawk on June 7 at 7:08 PM, where they took Mr. Phillips into custody, according to police.
One warrant was from Park Forest, alleging that Mr. Phillips failed to appear for a DUI case. The other was from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office on an alleged charge of failing to register as a sex offender, according to the report.
Violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act
Police arrested Eric M. Winfrey, 43, 1307 Birch Rd., Homewood, on June 8 and charged him with violating the Sex Offender Registration Act and suspicion of criminal trespassing.
Police were dispatched to the 200 block of Blackhawk Drive about a report of a suspicious subject. A friend of the owner cared for the pets at the home because the homeowner was in the hospital. When that friend arrived to care for the pets on June 8, she saw a 2003 gray Ford Taurus in the driveway. She did not recognize that car. She did not believe anyone should be at the house and found it suspicious. So, she called the police.
Police checked the registration of the Taurus and found that it was registered to Eric Winfrey, according to the report. Officers did not find any signs of forced entry or anything out of the ordinary. So police knocked on the front door, and a man later identified himself as Mr. Winfrey, answered. One of the officers asked Mr. Winfrey if he lived at that home, and he allegedly said he did.
A woman was inside the house with him: Brittany N. Spencer, 31, 422 W 34th St. #208, Steger.
Man Said He Paid Owner $200 To Live at the House for a Month
An officer asked Mr. Winfrey how long he lived at that home. He allegedly responded that he lived there for about three weeks, according to police. The officer asked Mr. Winfrey if he had keys to the house, and he reportedly said he did not. He told police that he entered using the back door and that he left the back door unlocked so he could get into the house, according to police.
Police asked if they could go inside and see what items belonged to Mr. Winfrey to establish residency, according to police. Mr. Winfrey agreed.
He showed officers the bedroom where he was staying and clothes throughout the room that, according to police. Mr. Winfrey told officers he met the owner three weeks prior through a mutual friend. The owner agreed to allow him to stay at the home in exchange for cash, according to police.
Mr. Winfrey allegedly said he paid the owner $200 to live at the house for the month. He said there was no lease agreement. The two only agreed to the arrangement verbally, according to the report.
Meanwhile, another officer ran Mr. Winfrey’s name through LEADS and learned that he was a registered sex offender, according to the report. One of the officers inquired further about the status of Mr. Winfrey’s sex registration and learned that he was allegedly in violation since he had been living at the home on Blackhawk Drive for more than three days and had not notified the Park Forest Police Department or the Shorewood Police Department, according to police.
Police arrested Mr. Winfrey on suspicion of violating the sex offender registration act.
Police arrested Ms. Spencer on suspicion of criminal trespassing, according to police.
Owner Confirms that Man Had Permission To Stay at the House
Two officers met with the owner at St. James Hospital. The owner confirmed that he had met Mr. Winfrey about three weeks prior and said he had permission to stay at his home with Ms. Spencer. He said that when Mr. Winfrey originally started staying at his house, he had a different woman staying with him.
The owner confirmed that although Mr. Winfrey did not have keys to the home, he was still allowed to be there.
Woman Charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Police interviewed Ms. Spencer, who said she had been to the house a few times and stayed the night there with Mr. Winfrey.
When police took her to the Park Forest Police Department, they found three glass pipes in her purse, according to the report. During the interview, Ms. Spencer told officers that she used the pipes to smoke crack cocaine, according to the report.
Police issued Ms. Spencer a municipal citation charging possession of drug paraphernalia and released her from custody. Police did not charge her with trespassing.
Police arrested Precious S. Owens, 24, 111 Sycamore Dr., #607, Park Forest, on June 9 and charged her with disorderly conduct.
Police responded to a residence on Sycamore Drive at 12:40 AM to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. They found a woman, later identified as Precious Owens, sitting on the floor outside an apartment.
Police Smell Alcohol
Ms. Owens told police her boyfriend locked her outside the apartment and refused to let her inside. She wanted to get her two children, according to police. She then planned to walk to her parents’ house in Ford Heights, roughly five miles away, according to police.
While speaking with Ms. Owens, police smelled alcohol coming from her person, according to the report.
An officer knocked on the door and contacted the man who lives there. When he entered the apartment, the officer saw a small child in the living room sleeping on a bed, according to police.
The man said that Ms. Owens came to the home in an intoxicated state, and he refused to let her inside to get their children. The two are the parents of the children, according to police.
The man agreed to allow Ms. Owens inside the residence, but she could not leave with the children.
When Ms. Owens walked into the apartment, she began yelling at the man, saying that she had the right to take her children, according to police.
One of the officers told her that she could not leave the apartment in her current intoxicated state with children.
Ms. Owens allegedly said that she would not leave. She intended to “roll up a blunt and smoke it,” according to police.
The man agreed that she could stay at the apartment. The man and Ms. Owens told police that they would stay separated and that there would be no problems.
Five Minutes Later, 911 and a Fire Alarm
About five minutes after officers left the apartment complex, dispatchers advised that the man dialed 911. He alleged that Ms. Owens struck him in the face, according to police. Dispatch also said that the building’s fire alarm was activated, according to police.
When police arrived, they found Ms. Owens in the downstairs lobby. She allegedly told police that the man grabbed her and threw her out of the apartment, according to police. She reportedly said that she set off the fire alarm because she could not dial 911 to call the police as her cell phone was inside the apartment, according to the report.
When police spoke with the man, he alleged that Ms. Owens had been smoking her cannabis in the living room in front of the children, according to the report. According to the report, he asked her to go to another room, but she refused.
The man said that he then took cannabis out of her hand.
Ms. Owens then allegedly grabbed him by his shirt and pushed him to the couch, according to police. In their struggle, the man said Ms. Owens fell on the floor. She then allegedly turned around and kicked him in his face, according to police.
The man refused to sign complaints. He told officers that he did not want Ms. Owens back inside his home, according to police.
According to police, the man had a swollen and bleeding bottom lip. Ms. Owens had no visible injuries, according to police.
An officer arrested Ms. Owens on suspicion of disorderly conduct. According to police, this was because she allegedly transmitted to the Park Forest Fire and Police Department a fire. She reportedly knew that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that there was a fire, according to police.
Due to the conflicting stories and lack of independent witnesses, police did not charge anyone with domestic battery.
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 arrested and charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged 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. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, 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.
All of the incidents in this report were captured 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. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.
Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.