Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Injuries and DUI Charges After Crash on Western Avenue


Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Several people in a car sustained severe injuries and a driver DUI charges following a two-car collision on Western Avenue just before St. Patrick’s Day. Amazingly, an infant in a car seat escaped the incident without injury. Police charged one of the drivers with felony DUI after he allegedly ran the stop sign as he exited Sycamore Drive onto Western Avenue.

This is the last incident in this grouping detailing three arrests. In the first incident, police deployed a drone to track a man they suspected of burglarizing cars. This Chicago Heights man now faces a charge of felony burglary.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through March 16, 2024

Felony Burglary to Motor Vehicle

Police arrested Jahari D. Robinson, 22, Chicago Heights, on March 15 and charged him with felony burglary from a motor vehicle and resisting a peace officer. At 7:43 AM, a caller told dispatch that a man wearing a black hoodie and black pants was entering multiple vehicles and taking items out, according to police. Upon arrival, an officer found a man in the 300 block of Oswego Street matching that description, later identified as Jahari D. Robinson.

When police arrived, Mr. Robinson allegedly ran away towards Onarga Street. Police commanded Mr. Robinson to stop running and get on the ground. However, he reportedly continued to run away, according to police.

Suspect Flees. Police Deploy Drone.

Mr. Robinson then jumped the fence in an attempt to escape, and an officer deployed his Taser at Mr. Robinson, striking him in the arm. He continued to run away, according to police.

Police deployed a drone to assist in locating Mr. Robinson. They saw him run towards Oakwood Street, where he went into the back of a home on the 300 block of Oakwood. There, he sat down in a chair, according to police.

An officer then commanded Mr. Robinson to stay where he was and keep his hands visible. According to the report, police arrested him without incident.

Paramedics responded to check on Mr. Robinson since an officer tased him and a Taser dart stuck in his shirt, according to police.

Witness Accounts

Police interviewed witnesses who saw Mr. Robinson allegedly enter vehicles. One reported that some coins and a pack of Newport cigarettes were missing from her car. When arrested, Mr. Robinson had $4.63 in coins on his person, a pack of Newport cigarettes, and a bottle of prescription medication for amoxicillin 500 mg capsules that belonged to someone in Chicago, according to police.

The Cook County Felony Review approved felony charges of burglary against Mr. Robinson, according to police.

Domestic Battery

Police arrested Rushaine R. James, 35, Glenwood, and charged him with domestic battery, fleeing and eluding, three counts of disregarding a stop sign, failure to yield, driving with suspended registration, and no insurance.

Witness Flags Down an Officer

A man approached an officer patrolling at 1:29 AM in the parking lot of a business in the 400 block of Sauk Trail and told the officer he saw a physical fight between a man and a woman in a white vehicle eastbound in the middle of the road on Sauk Trail. The officer advised SouthCom Dispatch of this “flag-down” complaint and drove eastbound on Sauk Trail in search of the car and subjects.

In the 300 block of Sauk Trail, an officer saw a white Dodge SUV parked facing southbound in a driveway with a portion of the rear of the vehicle partially on the roadway. According to police, a woman was walking westbound away from the SUV. She initially refused to speak with the officer and continued walking. However, she eventually stopped and said that the man in the vehicle, later identified as Rushaine R. James, had something to drink and did “this to me,” pointing to her face, according to police.

Alleged Victim Shows Injuries to Officer

The officer saw red along the bottom row of her teeth, which the officer understood to be blood.

Mr. James then left the area westbound in the Dodge SUV as the alleged victim refused police assistance, according to the report.

According to police, a search of the Dodge found that the registration had been suspended due to no insurance.

According to police, the officer found the white Dodge parked near a gas pump at the Shell Gas Station, 385 Sauk Trail. Mr. James was walking in the parking lot as he watched officers.

Man “Aggressively” Drives Away

At 1:42 AM, he returned to his vehicle and “aggressively drove out of the parking lot,” heading southbound onto Blackhawk Drive, according to police. He had not activated his headlights, according to police.

The officer who had spoken with the woman activated his emergency lights and followed Mr. James out of the parking lot onto Blackhawk Drive. According to police, Mr. James kept driving, allegedly disobeying stop signs at Miami Street, Central Park Avenue, and Ridgeway Avenue. He then turned north and stopped at a residence in Richton Park.

The pursuit went approximately .44 miles from the start and, according to police. The officer who had pursued Mr. James took him into custody.

The alleged victim then arrived at the scene and asked about a cell phone and the keys to her Dodge SUV, according to police.

The alleged victim told police that Mr. James had been drinking, and the two got into a verbal dispute in the SUV, which became physical, according to police. She alleged that Mr. James “pulled and pushed” her to the ground before the officer made contact on Sauk Trail.

She signed complaints charging domestic battery, according to police.

Felony Aggravated DUI

Police arrested Nathan L. Heyward, 34, Calumet City, on March 16 and charged him with DUI, felony aggravated DUI, disobeying a stop sign, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and suspended driver’s license.

Police responded to the area of South Western Avenue and Sycamore Drive at 10:36 PM to investigate an accident involving personal injuries. Upon arrival, the arresting officer saw three Will County Deputies and the Park Forest Fire Department paramedics on the scene aiding occupants in a black Dodge sedan.

The Dodge faced westbound on Western Avenue in the southbound lane.

Infant in a Car Seat

The front passenger sat along the west side curb with an infant car seat that held a nine-month-old girl.

The officer saw the airbag deployed inside the Dodge and saw heavy damage to the front driver’s door, according to police.

The driver and owner of the Dodge, later identified as Nathan L. Heyward, sat in the driver’s seat. While he was breathing, he appeared to be in and out of consciousness, according to police.

The reporting officer smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mr. Heyward’s breath, according to police.

Second Vehicle: Heavy Front-end Damage

The officer also saw a dark-colored Jeep SUV positioned southeast from the Dodge facing westbound in the northbound lane of Western Avenue near Sycamore Drive. According to police, the Jeep had heavy front-end damage.

The driver of the Jeep told police that he was driving northbound on Western Avenue in the left lane when the Dodge allegedly disobeyed the stop sign at Western Avenue and Sycamore Drive. The Dodge was driving westbound on Sycamore Drive and drove onto Western Avenue without stopping, according to police. This left little time for the Jeep driver to react, causing the front of his Jeep to collide with the driver’s side of the Dodge, according to police.

Paramedics saw to the needs of the driver of the Jeep. He declined transport to the hospital.

Injuries to Occupants of the Dodge

Meanwhile, paramedics removed the rear passenger-side occupant from the Dodge. He was conscious and made groaning noises, uttering “incoherent statements,” according to police. Paramedics carried him away on a cot into an ambulance awaiting transport.

According to the report, a rear passenger-side occupant cautiously exited the Dodge while grimacing. She sat on the curb with the passenger and her nine-month-old child, according to police.

Police determined the seating arrangements of all the occupants of the Dodge.

Police and the Will County Deputies conducted an inventory of the Dodge before Coy’s Towing took it away.

All from the Dodge Taken to Hospitals

According to police, all occupants of the Dodge were transported to either St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields or Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oaklawn:

  • Paramedics took Mr. Heyward, the driver, to Christ Medical Center for treatment of multiple fractured bones: he broke his neck and spine and had a broken left femur.
  • A rear passenger was also sent to Christ Medical for multiple lacerations requiring stitches.
  • The other rear-seat passenger went to St. James Hospital for treatment of lacerations and evaluation by medical personnel.
  • The front passenger, who police found sitting with the infant, was taken to St. James Hospital and then later transported to Christ Medical Center. According to the report, he sustained fractured ribs, a broken spine, and bleeding in the lungs.

Paramedics transported the infant to St. James Hospital for evaluation, according to police.

Police escorted the driver of the Jeep to his residence.

Investigating Officer Goes to Christ Medical

On Sunday, March 17, 2024, the reporting officer arrived at Advocate Christ Medical Center at 1:06 AM. Medical staff apprised him of Mr. Heyward’s apparent confused mental state.

After a CT scan, x-rays, and ultrasounds, doctors determined Mr. Heyward had multiple fractures and broken bones that required surgery. The officer smelled the odor of alcohol and reported that Mr. Heyward had slurred speech.

An initial lab result yielded a 235 serum alcohol value (“Serum-Alcohol Concentration” or SAC), according to the report. This converted to an approximate 0.19 BAC, according to police.[1]

This was at 12:32 AM.

Driver Declines DUI Kit

The officer asked medical staff to administer a DUI kit to Mr. Heyward. At approximately 2:36 AM, medical staff asked Mr. Heyward if he agreed to the DUI kit. He verbally refused consent and stated he was not drinking, according to police.

The officer spoke with medical staff again about one of the passengers who required stitches before his release. According to the report, this passenger admitted to medical staff that he was under the influence of cocaine.

Infant Sustained No Injuries

The officer contacted St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields via telephone and learned that the baby suffered no injuries. The hospital discharged her with her mother, according to police.

Medical staff alerted DCFS of the accident and the condition of the infant.

According to the report, Mr. Heyward had an initial court appearance on April 1 at the Will County Courthouse.

Notes

  1. Editor’s Note: According to several sources, converting Serum-Alcohol Concentrations (SAC) to Corresponding Blood-Alcohol Concentrations (BAC) involves dividing the SAC by 1.14, or a constant between 1.12 and 1.18. One might also take the SAC and move the decimal to the left three places. Given this information, the officer’s estimation of a BAC of 0.19 appears to be accurate.

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 whom police arrest are innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest not to remove items from 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.

We do not strike, “unpublish,” or delete news.

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 typically abbreviate these devices as BWC in the reports.

We encourage persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.


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