Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Second of Four Charged with DUI in Same Week: Police

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Hazel Crest man was the second of four people charged with DUI in the same week in January, charging him with felony aggravated DUI. The man also allegedly left the scene of an accident, leaving behind a teenager and adult passengers. The adult required medical care.

Second Charged with DUI in January

Kaplan Mitchell, second charged with DUI in January
Kaplan Mitchell is the second person charged with DUI in January 2024. (Photo: PFPD)

Police arrested Kaplan Mitchell, 53, 3105 Oakwood Dr., Hazel Crest, on January 7 and charged him with “felony aggravated DUI while driving without a valid license,” DUI any amount of drugs, driving with no valid driver’s license, driving without insurance, and leaving the scene of an accident. Police also processed him on an outstanding Lake County, Indiana warrant. The warrant was on a charge of failure to appear.

Accident at Indiana St. and Lincoln Hwy.

An officer responded to the call of a personal injury accident on January 7 at 7:17 PM near Lincoln Highway and Indiana Street. According to police, the call classification was later changed to DUI.

The responding officer learned that there was a vehicle accident where a subject allegedly ran from the scene, possibly towards Chicago Heights. When he arrived at the scene, the officer saw the vehicle, a silver 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, was heavily damaged, according to police. It faced westbound on the south side sidewalk of Lincoln Highway.

SouthCom described the driver who allegedly fled. The officer searched and located the man at Lincoln Highway and Orchard Drive. He identified the driver as Kaplan Mitchell, according to the report.

The officer detained Mr. Mitchell and put him in the back of his squad vehicle. He then returned to the accident scene for more information.

Two Passengers: An Adult and a Teen

According to police, there was a teen in the front passenger seat of the Cruiser. She told police she was okay and did not need medical attention. The teen also said that Mr. Mitchell lost control of the vehicle while on Lincoln Highway, according to police.

She said no more on the matter, according to police.

Paramedics transported a passenger who had been in the rear of the vehicle to St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields for injuries he sustained in the accident.

Police took photographs of the scene.

Police: Driver Left the Scene Because He Was “Scared”

While in custody, Mr. Mitchell allegedly confirmed that he was the vehicle driver from the Lincoln Highway accident. Mr. Mitchell reportedly said he left the scene because he was scared, according to police. He also allegedly said that he crashed the vehicle from fatigue, according to police.

Driver Allegedly Said He Had a “Crack” Pipe

The arresting officer conducted a safety patdown of the driver. Mr. Mitchell allegedly said that he had a “crack” pipe on him, according to police. Mr. Mitchell also allegedly made spontaneous statements about smoking crack earlier, according to police.

The arresting officer observed that Mr. Mitchell had bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils, consistent with the use of crack cocaine, according to the report.

The officer did not locate any crack or pipe on Mr. Mitchell’s person.

The officer then arrested Mr. Mitchell on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs.

Police: Driver Again Admits to Smoking “Crack”

At the Park Forest Police Department, Mr. Mitchell allegedly told police that he had smoked some “crack” earlier in the day. He then reportedly said that he had smoked “crack” about an hour previously, according to police.

Mr. Mitchell allegedly told police that he smoked “crack” every day, according to the report.

Police conducted standardized field sobriety tests on Mr. Mitchell. Afterward, they transported him to St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, where he allegedly consented to having his blood and urine drawn for chemical tests. The results showed that Mr. Mitchell’s system tested positive for cocaine, according to the report.

On January 8, 2024, at 5:04 AM, the officer spoke with the Cook County state Attorney, who approved felony charges of “aggravated DUI while driving without a valid license,” 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 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.