Three people were seriously hurt in a high-speed chase that caused a lot of damage early Tuesday on Chicago's northwest side.
Residents near the corner of Lamon and George on Chicago’s northwest side always have a difficult time finding a place to park. Spaces in the tidy neighborhood with its solid brick bungalows are relished by those lucky enough to find them, often far from their homes.
So imagine the plight of eight different families, who woke up Tuesday morning to the sounds of sirens and crumpling metal, running outside to find their cars in a twisted heap.
"It just sounded like a thunderstorm," said Chuck Enriquez. "And I came out and there was just screaming, and my car was just totaled."
Chicago police said the whole ordeal started simply enough. Officers said they observed a motorist around 12:20 a.m., waving a gun at an unidentified man. As they began following him, he took off.
The chase didn’t last long.
Investigators said the driver, identified as 22 year old Fabian Regalado, blew through two stop signs, bouncing across speed bumps before crashing into the parked cars at Lamon and George.
Witnesses said Regalado bolted from the car, leaving behind three injured companions, one of whom had to be cut from the wreckage. All three were rushed to the hospital.
"Yeah, they had to tear the door off," said Enriquez. "He was screaming."
Bleary-eyed residents wandered outside, only to find what remained of the cars they had parked just a few hours before.
"It was just like eight cars everywhere," said Isidro Bravo. "Like a big pancake."
Bravo’s Jeep was pushed from its parking space, coming to rest near the sidewalk, its front end twisted away.
"It’s in the junkyard," he said. "I couldn’t save it."
It isn’t likely Regalado’s insurance company will be helpful with the claims. Police said he had no insurance and no driver’s license. In fact, the Secretary of State says he has been in and out of court numerous times, so many, in fact, that as his record now stands, he would not be allowed to obtain a license, even if he took the time to apply.
He was charged Tuesday with a variety of offenses, ranging from reckless driving, to aggravated fleeing, and failure to notify authorities of an accident. He was ordered held on $150,000 bond.
"Just gangbangers with guns getting chased," said a philosophical Enriquez. "They just had a gun, and they didn’t want to get caught."