Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Multiple Felony Counts Over Two Days: Reports


Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—Park Forest police were unusually busy for two days in April. On Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th, they received several calls for service that ended with arrests and multiple felony charges. We only cover the first five here. The last two pertain to the same individual, charged at two locations on the same day.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through April 14, 2024

Domestic Battery

Police arrested Josiah E. Gardener, 21, Park Forest, on April 13th and charged him with domestic battery (physical contact). Police responded to a home on Blackhawk Drive to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance.

According to police, the complainant alleged that Josiah Gardener struck him and pulled at him, trying to get him out of a car on Blackhawk Drive near Suwannee Street.

The Backstory: Agreement to Drive the Complainant

Mr. Gardener agreed to take the complainant to a destination after a friend was involved in a car accident earlier that day. While driving, Mr. Gardener and the complainant began to argue. Mr. Gardener stopped the car and told the complainant to get out. Mr. Gardener then got out of the car and allegedly began to strike the complainant, who was still in the vehicle. The complainant further alleged that Mr. Gardener choked him, telling police he could not breathe for a few seconds, according to the report.

Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance

While working seatbelt enforcement on April 13th at 6:36 PM, an officer in the area of Liberty Drive and Cunningham Road saw a blue Hyundai Santa Fe driver who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to police.

The officer conducted a law enforcement inquiry on the vehicle and found that the registration expired on March 24th. The officer also learned that the registration was suspended.

Curbing the vehicle on Forest Boulevard just south of Lakewood Boulevard, the officer contacted the car’s occupants. The Hyundai driver was Unymeleak Williams Jr., Glenwood. According to the officer’s report, the front-seat passenger, Taoreed Yaya Jr., Park Forest, was also not wearing a seatbelt. Both of them gave the officer their valid Illinois driver’s licenses.

According to police, there was a lit cigar in the vehicle’s cup holder. There was smoke coming from the cigar. The officer smelled the fresh odor of burnt cannabis, according to police. The officer checked a law enforcement database and learned that Mr. Williams had a valid driver’s license and Mr. Yaya had a valid Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card and a valid Concealed Carry License.

Passenger Has a Firearm

The officer asked Mr. Yaya if he had a gun. Mr. Yaya told the officer that he did. He said the firearm was inside his pants, according to police.

Mr. Williams produced two Ziploc bags from inside his hooded sweatshirt when police asked if there was any more “weed” inside the vehicle. Mr. Williams got out of the car when the police asked him to. They did not find any additional contraband on his person. An officer requested Mr. Yaya to get out of the car. The officer then removed the semi-automatic handgun from Mr. Yaya’s front waistband. The weapon had one round chambered and 19 additional rounds in the magazine. Police determined it was a Glock 19X.

Police asked the third passenger in the backseat to leave the car. He was Gerald T. Craig of Chicago. According to police, he was also not wearing a seatbelt.

According to the report, police then searched the vehicle and found the following items:

  • a silver Mylar Ziploc bag containing a baby bottle with a blue/green liquid;
  • a bottle of Promethazine Hydrochloride oral solution;
  • a black Mylar bag containing other Ziploc bags that had suspected cannabis in them;
  • a cigar filled with a green plant material from the front cup holder area. (This was the same that the officer saw when initially approaching the car;
  • an empty, unlabeled prescription pill bottle,
  • an empty prescription bottle with a partial label. The label indicated the prescription was for Promethazine with Codeine Syrup, according to police.

Coy’s Towing Service towed the vehicle, according to police.

While Mr. Williams and Mr. Craig were still on the scene, they both allegedly said that the bottle of promethazine belonged to them.

Charges

Police issued Mr. Williams a traffic citation for allegedly operating a motor vehicle with suspended registration and failure to wear a seatbelt. His initial court date was May 23rd, 2024, at the Markham Courthouse.

Police issued Mr. Craig a municipal citation for allegedly failing to wear a seatbelt.

Police took Mr. Yaya to the Park Forest Police Department pending further investigation. After an interview, police charged Mr. Yaya with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance (Class 4). They issued him a traffic citation for allegedly failing to wear a seatbelt. Mr. Yaya had an initial court date of April 15th, 2024, at the Markham Courthouse.

Multiple Felony Counts

Police arrested Leslie R. McBain, 29, Chicago, on April 14 and charged him with the following felony counts:

  • one count of unlawful use of a weapon by someone convicted of a felony,
  • two counts of possession of a controlled substance,
  • one count of possession of cannabis: 100-500 g,
  • and one count of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

Police also issued him a citation charging failure to wear a seatbelt.

Police also charged Lenard C. Myles, 31, Chicago, with speeding, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license, and possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle.

Police: Car Speeding on Western

An officer patrolling at 3:55 AM on April 14th saw a black sedan heading northbound on Western Avenue from Birch Street. The radar in the officer’s car indicated that the vehicle was traveling 57 miles per hour, according to police. The officer curbed the black Lincoln MKZ vehicle on Western Avenue North of Algonquin Street.

The officer asked the driver, later identified as Lenard C. Myles, to lower the rear passenger driver-side window. Mr. Myles complied. Police saw a passenger in the rear seat who appeared to be sleeping.

The officer told the driver why he stopped him, alleging that he was going 57 miles per hour in the 35 mph zone, according to police. Mr. Myles gave the officer his Michigan driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Other Park Forest units arrived on the scene to assist.

Police: Suspicious Package

An officer saw a plastic package on the center console and asked the driver if there was anything in the car he shouldn’t have. Mr. Myles said there was not.

The officer asked for the package. From experience, the officer suspected the package looked like the type of package used to package cannabis. The driver gave the officer the package. The label read “Day Day Cookies” and had a cannabis leaf logo on the lower right-hand corner.

The officer told Mr. Myles he could not have such packaging in the vehicle.

Police asked Mr. Myles to exit the car, and he complied. They searched him for weapons and asked him to sit down on the curb. An officer asked the front passenger to leave the car, and he complied.

Rear-Seat Passenger

Police then woke the rear-seat passenger, Leslie R. McBain, 29, Chicago, and asked him to get out of the car. He did so. An officer patted him down for weapons. Police then began to search the vehicle. One officer saw a handgun on the floor behind the driver’s seat. The gun was on the floor upright on its barrel and magazine while the slide was resting along the center console, according to police.

Police handcuffed Mr. Myles and the front-seat passenger and put them in separate squad cars. Police also detained Mr. McBain.

An officer allegedly saw Mr. McBain drop a small piece of plastic wrapper. When the officer picked the wrapper up, he saw a white substance inside it, according to police.

Police Unpack the Car

Inside the car, police found:

  • one bottle labeled Promethazine Hydrochloride,
  • one additional purple plastic package labeled “Day Day Cookies,”
  • seven silver plastic packages labeled “American Platinum,”
  • three plastic baggies with suspected cannabis inside,
  • a baby bottle with a green liquid remnant inside,
  • a two-liter Pineapple Crush soda that was approximately half full with a green-tinted liquid,
  • and a Mason jar filled with suspected cannabis.

Police Secure the Firearm

Another officer took possession of the firearm, a black and silver 9 mm Smith & Wesson SD9VE, according to police. The weapon had 13 rounds in the magazine and one round chambered, according to police.

Police transported the passenger and Mr. McBain to the Park Forest Police Department.

At the station, police searched Mr. McBain and found a small plastic package. Mr. McBain allegedly told police the plastic wrapper he dropped contained a Xanax pill, and the plastic package in his possession contained cannabis, according to police.

Police charged Mr. Myles and Mr. McBain as indicated above and released the passenger from custody with no charges.

Domestic Battery

Police arrested Jermaine I. Fowlkes, 35, Park Forest, on April 14th and charged him with domestic battery.

Police responded to Hemlock Street at 8:16 AM about a report of a domestic disturbance. A woman alleged that Mr. Fowlkes came into her bedroom and tried to assault her, according to police.

According to the complainant, he allegedly got into bed beside her. She pushed him out of the bed onto the floor, according to police. She then got out of bed and tried to stand up. Mr. Fowlkes then allegedly grabbed her from behind “in a bear hug” and began to touch her breasts with his hands. He initially touched her shirt but then put his hand down her shirt, according to police. He also allegedly touched her between her legs, according to police.

The woman said she screamed for help. Her daughter came into the bedroom, saw Mr. Fowlkes grabbing her, and called the police.

She told police she wanted to pursue criminal complaints against Mr. Fowlkes and asked that officers arrest him.

Felony Resisting

In a separate incident report, police charged Jermaine I. Fowlkes, 35, Park Forest, on April 14th with felony resisting.

At 10:43 AM, while Mr. Fowlkes was in custody at the Park Forest Police Department on the charge of domestic battery, he told officers he was sick and not feeling well, according to police. He asked to call his mother to see if she would bond him out.

The arresting officer told him he would be transported to court that evening and could not bond out.

He then told police that his sister was supposed to come to bond him out.

Mr. Fowlkes then walked towards the entrance of the Booking Room to get his shoes. An officer asked him if he wanted to put them on, and he said, “Yeah, I’ll be right back,” according to police. He then walked towards the Booking Room entrance, which led to the Interview Room hallway and the rear exit from the station.

The arresting officer grabbed him by the wrist to bring him back into the Booking Room. Mr. Fowlkes then allegedly lunged towards the exit. He left the station through that door.

Officer Injured Performing Emergency Takedown

Outside, he reportedly began to run, attempting to escape from the officer. The officer grabbed ahold of Mr. Fowlkes and performed an emergency takedown, bringing him to the ground.

Mr. Fowlkes allegedly tried to get off the ground even after the officer brought him down. Another officer responded and assisted. They handcuffed Mr. Fowlkes and escorted him back into the police station without further incident.

During the arrest, the arresting officer injured his right arm and sustained abrasions, according to police.

Park Forest Fire Department Responds

The Park Forest Fire Department responded to the station. Paramedics transported Mr. Fowlkes to Franciscan Health Hospital for further treatment because he said he wasn’t feeling well. Paramedics also looked at the abrasions on the officer’s arm.

After the hospital discharged Mr. Fowlkes, police took him back to the station.

Police note in the report that the door Mr. Fowlkes escaped from malfunctioned and did not automatically latch, according to the report. A technician from the Park Forest Parks and Recreation Department responded to the police department and repaired the door, according to police.

The Cook County Felony Review unit approved the felony resisting charge against Mr. Fowlkes, according to police.

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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