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Chevy Impala Leads Police On High-Speed Chase Through Lake Forest, Lake Bluff & Beyond

By Adrienne Fawcett

GazeboNews learned of a high-speed car chase involving several police departments on Monday evening, June 3. We asked Lake Bluff Deputy Chief David Belmonte for information on what happened. He said that at 7:05 p.m., North Chicago Police officers were in pursuit of a vehicle southbound on Green Bay Road, traveling through Lake Bluff into Lake Forest. The car, a black 2007 Chevrolet Impala, was reported stolen by Grayslake Police. North Chicago terminated the pursuit in Lake Forest.

Deputy Chief Belmonte said that several minutes later the car was again spotted by Lake Bluff officers, who attempted to stop the car when it went west on Rt 176 from northbound Green Bay Road. The vehicle refused to stop and continued west on Rt 176. Due to heavy traffic conditions, Lake Bluff officers did not pursue. Libertyville Police and Lake County Sheriffs Department were notified.

GazeboNews is awaiting word on whether the vehicle has been apprehended.



Comments

  1. The lack of communication between Lake Bluff and North Chicago is alarming. The idea that, in the age of the cell phone, North Chicago and Lake Bluff Police can’t communicate directly is a serious problem.
    You would think that the governing boards of Lake Bluff and North Chicago, or Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, would hold regular, at least annual, meetings together to discuss common concerns. But they don’t. There is no regular mechanism for communication.
    These three towns control numerous roads, rivers and a certain lake shore in common, but never discuss their common issues. From the lakefront, to the west, these three communities control passage on Sheridan Road, Green Bay Road, Highway 41, and I-94. Let’s include the Skokie River, also known as the Union Drainage District (consult your real estate tax bill if you live west of Green Bay Road).
    When I was on the LB Village Board, we negotiated a Boundary Agreement with North Chicago. This was not easy; North Chicago officials did not always return phone calls. But I think that they are well lead by Leon Rockingham and that if we reached out, North Chicago would listen. Our police should be able to speak directly with their police. Lake Bluff needs to do everything that we can to improve communication. Between North Chicago (35,000+) and Lake Forest (20,000+), maybe Lake Bluff (6,000) has an interest in better communication and should be the leader in communication.

  2. Jim Moss says:

    This is outrageous. I witnessed the portion of this chase that involved four North Chicago police cars in pursuit of the Impala, at the intersection of 176 and Green Bay Rd. The speed of all the vehicles involved was alarming to say the least. I saw no evidence of slowing down by any of the vehicles as they went through the intersection, swerving around the pulled over traffic. It did not appear the officers had the ability to control the traffic light to help minimize the risk. The speed coupled with four police cars involved in the chase suggested to me that a serious crime was at play. The officers were obviously taking a calculated risk as their decision to pursue at a high speed and use of four cars was obviously putting other drivers and pedestrians at considerable risk. To put the risk in some perspective, next time you drive southbound on Green Bay approaching 176, imagine how much reaction time you would have to navigate the intersection at a high rate of speed as you come over the rise just north of the intersection.

    My concern led me to call the Lake Bluff police department. In my conversation I learned three things. First, police in neighboring communities are allowed to pursue criminals across city/village borders. This makes perfect sense and was not really a concern of mine. Second, the framework for how much force and effort should be made in pursuit of a criminal is discretionary and is usually dictated by the police force one is a member. One hopes this discretion is used appropriately. Lastly, there seems to be no ability for a local police force (Lake Bluff) to influence or control the activity of another police force (North Chicago) when pursuit of a criminal crosses city/village borders. I was a bit shocked to be told that the Lake Bluff and North Chicago police departments do not have the ability to communicate via radio in situations like these. I thank the Lake Bluff police for listening to my concern. However, I was dismayed when I was told I should call the North Chicago police department to voice my concern as there was little the Lake Bluff police could do in this matter.

    This situation, as innocent as it may seem, highlights a risk that needs to be addressed by the appropriate leaders. The potential for someone to get hurt in this situation is very real. It would be tragic if someone got hurt by the driver of the stolen car. It would be inexcusable if someone got hurt by one of the four police cars that were seeking to solve the serious crime of a stolen Chevy Impala. Our leaders need to take a fresh look at the policies dictating police activity. Further, a review on procedures for how neighboring police forces can communicate in real time should also be assessed. If appropriate procedures and policies are in place in these areas, such need to be better followed and better communicated to citizens. Taking a proactive approach is leadership. Taking a passive path with the rationale of no harm no foul, may suggest a need for new leadership.

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