Crash Ends Police Chase - NBC Chicago

Crash Ends Police Chase

Driver of a stolen taxi clipped school bus before crashing



    Prior to stealing a taxi and crashing into a pole, a man tried to rob a Subway restaurant in Des Plaines. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011)

    The man driving a taxi involved in a morning high-speed police chase stole the car from a Rosemont Elite Taxi driver early Wednesday, police said.

    The man asked Ilias Papaioannou, 65, to drive him to Subway Sandwich Shop and then to a second Subway location, at 2096 Miner St., where the man attempted to take the cash register during a robbery attempt, according to police reports.

    The suspect then left the store, confronted Papaioannou and stole his keys. Alice Catalano, of Elite Taxi, said the suspect punched Papaioannou before taking off with the car.

    "Our driver is OK," Catalano said. "He's been with our company for over 20 years and he is one of our veteran drivers."

    A high-speed police chase ensued after 6 a.m., and a line of police followed the cab through residential neighborhoods in several northwest suburbs. The cab drove through Northwestern University campus before heading into city limits.

    The chase culminated when the suspect veered around a school bus, clipping the front of the bus and crashing into a pole. After the accident at Columbia and Clark in Chicago, the driver of the taxi tried to escape on foot. Police arrested him on the spot. 

    The suspect is in custody, and the bus appears to have minimal damage. The driver of the bus was taken to St. Francis Hospital as a precaution. He was the only person on the bus.

    Papaioannou was not taken to the hospital. "I know he was shaken up," Catalano said.