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Crime & Courts

Charges brought against girlfriend of man who drove through Gross parking lot during meet

BROOKFIELD – The Brookfield Police Department announced Monday that charges were approved for Celeste Martinez, 24, of the 3900 block of Campbell Avenue in Chicago, for obstructing justice and concealing a fugitive, for her alleged role helping to prevent the capture of a fugitive sought by Brookfield police.

According to Brookfield police, Martinez was in a relationship with Jason Bentley, the man accused of speeding through a S.E. Gross Middle School parking lot where an after-school track meet was being held on April 15.

Bentley was initially pulled over by Brookfield police at Southview and Raymond Avenues for failing to stop at a stop sign and was driving a car owned by Martinez, with her as the passenger. Bentley suddenly took off from the traffic stop and began a police pursuit, which led him through the Gross parking lot before the chase was abandoned by police for safety concerns.

Police were able to track the car to Martinez, who said she knew Bentley, but did not know his last name. According to police, Martinez initially told them she had picked Bentley up as she was driving along First Avenue and offered him a ride. She told police during an interview that Bentley had offered to diagnose a problem with her car, which was why he was driving her car when the traffic stop and subsequent chase took place.

Bentley was found May 21 with Martinez by an FBI task force at a hotel in Blytheville, Ark. where Martinez had rented a room. 

According to police, charges were pursued against Martinez after receiving a disc containing 24 audio recordings between Bentley and Martinez, which were recorded during calls made between May 21 and May 27 at the Mississippi County Detention Center, where Bentley was held after his arrest in Blytheville. 

According to police reports, on the calls the two discuss being in the police pursuit in Brookfield, Martinez cleaning up her car to get rid of Bentley's possessions and being arrested at the hotel. 

Brookfield Police Lt. Ed Petrak said felony charges were approved because Martinez booked an out of state hotel room to hide Bentley and for denying knowledge of his whereabouts during questioning. 

According to police, both Bentley and Martinez will be indicted July 24 at the Criminal Court Building at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago. Bentley is next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 1 and Martinez will appear in court next Aug. 5 at the Maybrook Courthouse in Maywood. 

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