Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Police Charge University Park Man with Aggravated DUI During a Busy Month

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—March was a busy month for Park Forest police. These reports summarize only three arrests made in two days. In this busy month, police charged a University Park man with aggravated DUI/no insurance, a class 4 felony.

Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through the Busy Month: March 21, 2024

Busy Month: Trespassing

Police arrested Matthew D. Washington, 25, and charged him with trespassing when police responded at 6:19 AM on March 20 to 7-Eleven, 425 Sauk Trail, to investigate a call of an unwanted subject.

An employee told police that Matthew D. Washington, who had been banned from the store, was inside the establishment. According to the police, Mr. Washington was asleep in a chair inside the slot machine area of the store.

Mr. Washington’s initial court date was May 6, 2024, at Markham Courthouse.

Felony Aggravated DUI/No Insurance

Darrius D. Baker, busy month, DUI
Darrius D. Baker. (PFPD)

Police arrested Darrius D. Baker, 35, University Park, on March 20 and charged him with aggravated DUI/no insurance (a class 4 felony), misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol, improper lane usage, illegal transportation of alcohol, possession of cannabis, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with suspended registration, and expired registration.

Officer’s Attention Goes to a Chevrolet

An officer driving eastbound on Sauk Trail from Westwood Drive at 9:13 PM saw a silver 2015 Chevrolet Equinox heading eastbound on Sauk Trail allegedly in the median lane, according to police.

According to police, the officer paced the vehicle for a short distance as the car traveled 40 mph in the posted 35 mph zone. Near Minocqua Street, The Equinox crossed onto the median before returning to the traffic lane.

According to police, the officer conducted an inquiry into the Chevrolet’s registration and learned that it had been suspended for non-insurance and expired.

Traffic Stop

The officer initiated a traffic stop at a business in the 400 block of Sauk Trail. When the officer spoke with the driver, Darrius D. Baker, the officer saw that Mr. Baker allegedly had bloodshot, glassy eyes and the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, according to police. Mr. Baker told the officer he had recently been stopped because of his suspended plate and was cited, according to police. He also said that his insurance policy for the Chevrolet had lapsed.

When asked, he told the officer he had one beer to drink.

The officer had Mr. Baker perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. After the tests were administered, the officer told Mr. Baker he was arresting him, according to the report.

When conducting an inventory of Mr. Baker’s vehicle, the officer recovered an open bottle of tequila, according to police. Mr. Baker refused to submit to a breathalyzer at the Park Forest Police Department, according to police.

Busy Month: Theft of Mislaid Property

Police arrested Michael E. Polka, 56, Park Forest, on March 21 and charged him with theft of mislaid property.

Police responded to the 7-Eleven in the 400 block of Sauk Trail at 11:07 AM to investigate a report of retail theft. According to the report, the complainant advised SouthCom Dispatch that he was following a man who allegedly stole someone’s money.

Police later identified the subject as Michael E. Polka. According to police, they located him walking in the 3700 block of Sauk Trail and detained him.

The machine stopped working at 2 AM.

The complainant told police that at 2 AM, a customer was playing one of the gambling machines inside the store. At that time, the machine stopped working, as the machines were programmed to stop functioning between 2 AM and 7 AM, according to police.

The customer told a night shift employee that the machine locked him out. According to police, he was unable to get his winning ticket for $246.69.

The employee tried safeguarding the customer’s winnings by putting an out-of-order sign on the gambling machine.

Customer Returns to Store

The customer returned at 8:45 AM to pick up his winning ticket, but it was gone, according to police. The business owner contacted the Illinois Gaming Board, which has purview over the gambling machines. The gaming board sent a technician to the store to investigate what happened.

The business owner also responded to the store to assist. When he arrived, he saw Mr. Polka in the parking lot. He said hello to him before discovering that, according to police, Mr. Polka was the person who allegedly stole the winning ticket.

Police: Video Evidence

The business owner said that the gambling machines in the store are open to the public between 9 AM and 2 AM the next day. A sign informs people of these hours at the gambling room’s door. Therefore, the business owner said Mr. Polka was not supposed to be inside that room before 9 AM.

According to police, a security video at the store showed Mr. Polka inside the room at 6:18 AM. Mr. Polka allegedly was still inside the gambling room at 7:08 AM and then at 7:21 AM, according to police. Police then saw Mr. Polka redeeming the winning ticket for $246.69, according to the report.

Police discovered that Mr. Polka, a man with no home, had $163.04 on his person, according to police. According to the report, he told officers, “I was just, uh, I went in there. Sitting warm, you know. . . sat there and, uh, sat there. I didn’t wrong anybody. . . I collected it. . . It printed out.”

Officers gave the money, $163.04, to the man who won the money. This man signed complaints against Mr. Polka.

Metra Warrant: Aggravated Battery

Police arrested Chiedu Nwaokai, 36, Park Forest, on March 21 and processed him on an active warrant out of Cook County.

An officer responded to Rich East High School, 300 Sauk Trail, at 1:06 PM to investigate a report of a suspicious subject who was allegedly throwing water bottles at passing vehicles. Police found Mr. Nwaokai walking westbound on Lakewood Boulevard. According to the police, he fit the complainant’s description to SouthCom Dispatch.

An officer spoke with the complainant. She alleged that Mr. Nwaokai had thrown a water bottle at her car. The officer did not see any damage to the vehicle, and the complainant said she did not want to pursue any complaints.

Police discovered a warrant when they did a LEADS check on Mr. Nwaokai. According to the report, the warrant was related to a charge of aggravated battery by the Metra Police.

The Busy Month

Readers looking back over several past reports will understand why we say March was so busy.

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.