JEFFERSON PARK — With a long line of cop cars on his tail, Omar Hurtado-Barrera hit the gas, pulled a U-turn and then drove circles around police on North Milwaukee Avenue, prosecutors said.
In a silver SUV, the 48-year-old man led police on a wild chase through Jefferson Park Tuesday night after leaving a path of destruction on the Edens Expressway, prosecutors said.
Police saw Hurtado-Barrera blow a stop light at Gale Street and Milwaukee shortly after 10 p.m. and tried to pull him over, prosecutors said.
But the driver sped north, prosecutors said. With cops closing in behind him, Hurtado-Barrera pulled a U-turn.
Traveling south, he hit the review mirror of one of the police cars still going north, prosecutors said. He then stopped the SUV momentarily before driving two circles around the police.
He fled again, this time reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour and veering up onto a sidewalk at one point, prosecutors said. Hurtado-Barrera kept going until he crashed into a car in the 5000 block of North Elston Avenue.
He allegedly resisted arresting officers, who used a Taser on the driver to get him under control.
Kaylyn Norton, 19, said she was sitting on her porch when she saw a silver SUV fly down Milwaukee Avenue going at least 60 mph followed by nine police cars with their sirens blaring.
"It was just crazy," Norton said. "Nothing like that ever happens around here. It was exciting."
It wasn't until police caught Hurtado-Barrera that they realized he was the same driver authorities were looking for in a series of car crashes on the Edens Expy.
Police were investigating reports that incident began when a silver Chevrolet Tahoe crashed into a car on the Wilson Avenue off ramp of the Edens Expy., turned around, drove the wrong way down the ramp onto the shoulder of the expressway, turned around again onto the off ramp, hitting several more cars before turning onto Cicero Avenue, authorities said.
Hurtado-Barrera is charged with seven courts of resisting arrest, four counts of aggravated assault of a police officer, driving under the influence and fleeing and eluding police, according to court records.
Prosecutors suspect that he was drunk, though the results of his blood test were not immediately available, they said.
He remained in the hospital Wednesday as prosecutors detailed the epic escape attempt of which he is accused.
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