BROOKFIELD – Investigators from the Brookfield Police Department believe they have identified the man behind the wheel of a car that suddenly drove off during a traffic stop and proceeded to drive through the S.E. Gross Middle School parking lot during an after hours track meet while being pursued by police.
Judge Carol Kipperman issued an arrest warrant for Jason M. Bentley, 29, of the 3900 block of South Campbell, Chicago, on Friday.
According to police, Bentley is still at large, despite officers' attempts to locate him at numerous locations. Police said Bentley is also wanted for failure to appear on two felony drug trafficking warrants out of Osceola County, Fla.
Brookfield police allege that Bentley was pulled over by police for driving through a stop sign at Southview and Raymond avenues. As the officer was talking to him during the stop, he suddenly pulled away. The car continued northbound on Arthur Avenue to Lincoln Avenue pursued by police when it drove through the S.E. Gross Middle School parking lot where an after-school track meet was being held.
The chase was terminated after the car left the lot and headed east on Broadway Avenue to Park Avenue and was lost by police on 31st Street. Brookfield Police Chief Steven Stelter said police were told to stop pursuit because it was the middle of rush hour and there were many pedestrians in the area.
"Each chase has its own personality," Stelter said. "You have to weigh the various factors ... and the safety of people comes first."
Police got the sedan's license plate information and were able to track it to a 24-year-old woman who lives in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood. Police contacted the woman, who drove the car to the Brookfield Police Station April 15.
According to police, the woman said she was driving along First Avenue when she saw the man, who she had met before, and offered him a ride. While she was driving, she told him she was having trouble with the car and offered to let him drive it to determine the problem.
Police were told by witnesses that parents had to pull their children out of the way as the car crossed through the parking lot. Chief Stelter said it was lucky no one was hurt in the incident.
Brookfield police reported they were able to identify Bentley as their suspect after evidence linking him was found when police processed the car. Bail on the arrest warrant was fixed at $150,000.