Suspect Shot as He Drove Directly at Joliet Cops
Police say officers were forced to shoot at James Pacheco, who took them on a chase that ended with a crash in Lockport.
Joliet police were forced to shoot at man who tried to run them down during the course of a police chase that ended with the suspect driving into a traffic light pole in Lockport.
James A. Pacheco, 35, of Lockport, took a bullet to his arm and is being treated at an undisclosed hospital, police said.
The incident began at about 2:30 this morning, when two officers responded to a criminal damage to property call at 359 Union, according to a news release issued by the city of Joliet.
The officers stopped the suspect's car at Washington Street and Melchoir Place, but when they exited their vehicle to speak with the man, later identified as Pacheco, he drove off on eastbound Washington, the report said.
When Pacheco was forced to stop at a railroad crossing in the 900 block of East Washington that was blocked by a train, the officers again exited their car and demanded several times that he come out of his vehicle. Instead, he did a u-turn and drove directly at them.
One of the officers fired at the car while getting out his way, and they then returned to their vehicle to continue the chase, the release said. Their pursuit eventually ended in Lockport, where Pacheco drove into a light pole at State and Division.
Pacheco was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, criminal damage to property and driving under the influence.
Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton said the Will County State's Attorney's Office is reviewing the case and that Pacheco might end up facing even stiffer charges.
Pacheco is under police guard at the hospital.
City Manager Tom Thanas said the officer who shot Pacheco has been placed on administrative leave so that his well-being can be ensured and so that police can do an analsyis of the incident to guarantee the shooting was justified.
The shooting was the second of two in which police officers shot suspects who threatened the lives of the officers; the first occurred Sunday morning.
"We take the well-being of the officer (in each case) very seriously," Thanas said. "We think (they) were justified in their use of force but we want to see what happened."