RIVER NORTH — A video of Victor Jaime as he escaped the clutches of a tow truck has since been viewed 2.1 million times online.
The 27-year-old from Edison Park said driving his Jeep off the tow truck it was a split-second decision.
"I knew I had a Jeep Wrangler and knew it could take the beating," Jaime said in an interview with DNAinfo Chicago. "I had faith in the [Jeep]. Adrenaline was kicking in."
And unbelievably, the 2015 Jeep, which Jaime and his friends are now calling the "White Knight," escaped unscathed.
The dramatic incident occurred March 29, when Jaime and a friend decided to head to Portillo's, 100 W Ontario St. Jaime's English bulldog, George, came along for the ride.
"Knowing George, he loves Italian beef," said Jaime, who grew up in Edison Park and recently moved to Hammond for work.
The two parked in a nearby Walgreens lot and left George inside with the car running. When they returned a few minutes later, the car was hooked up to a tow truck — with George inside.
As the truck was driving away, Jaime ran alongside and jumped into the driver's seat while yelling at the driver to stop, but the driver took off with both Jaime and George inside.
"He could definitely hear me. I was yelling at him," Jaime said. "He was blatantly looking at me when he backed up."
Jaime said he continued to lay on the horn while being towed, and when the truck finally stopped about a block away, the tow truck hoisted the back end of the Jeep even further off the ground.
"He lifts it higher, and I think, the guy might force me out, or even have a gun, so I decided to do this," Jaime said. "I put it in drive and took off on him."
Meanwhile, River North resident Tony Marengo was watching the incident unfold from across the street. He whipped out his iPhone and began filming — and caught the escape on camera.
Jaime says he didn't know there was a video until it went viral:
Jaime can be heard yelling, "Hey buddy watch this!" to the tow truck driver before hitting the gas.
"It was a huge drop," Jaime said. "Once I landed, I checked George, and that's when I took off."
Since the video was posted it has gone viral on the Web, and, as of Monday, had more than 2.1 million views.
As one YouTube commenter said, "Parking in Chicago is annoying. This guy is a hero."
Because he wasn't sure if what he did was illegal, Jaime said he drove off and never filed a police report.
The towing company, Lincoln Towing, was unavailable to comment Monday.
Since then he has spoken with a lawyer, as well as the Illinois Commerce Commission, and learned that the tow truck driver illegally towed him.
According to Illinois law, "No vehicle shall be relocated where the owner of the vehicle or the owner's agent is present or arrives on the scene before the vehicle is completely removed from the private property, produces the ignition key to the vehicle, and the owner or agent is able and does immediately remove the vehicle from the private property."
Jaime insists there was no major damage to his car. More important, he said, his dog is OK.
As for his new-found fame, Jaime said he is taking it in stride.
"I'm no hero," he said. "I'm a dog lover."
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