Police are still investigating an incident from last week that began with gunshots fired outside of a Forest Park sandwich shop and led to a high-speed chase that careened through River Forest.
The two men arrested in Maywood after the car chase have continued to remain silent and uncooperative with Forest Park police.
Even so, police still suspect it all started with a drug deal in the parking lot of Submarine Tender, Randolph and Desplaines, that went bad around 10 p.m. on Oct. 26.
Police allegedly found 20 pounds of marijuana and $1,200 in cash in the suspects’ van, as well as $1,000 in cash on one of the suspects’ person.
Forest Park Deputy Police Chief Tom Aftanas said his department thinks the two men they arrested, Carlos Garcia of Melrose Park, 20, and Juan Flores of Bellwood, 33, were shot at as they were trying to buy drugs. It remains unclear who was doing the shooting.
“We believe they were the buyers,” Aftanas said. “They were the ones that had the weed on them.”
It started as a call about the gunshots came in to Forest Park police around 10:20 p.m., just as an officer in an unmarked car saw a conversion van driven by Garcia careening down Elgin Street northbound from Randolph Street. The officer chased the van through Forest Park and into River Forest, following them as they blew through stop signs, swerved through the streets and eventually hit an innocent bystander’s car at the intersection of Lake Street and Ashland Avenue in River Forest – then kept driving.
“The thing was going through stop signs,” Aftanas said. “Our officer tried to stop it, and they were just not stopping.”
River Forest police, who had been listening in via police radio, then picked up the chase at the intersection of Keystone Avenue and Lake, where they pursued the van westbound into Maywood.
Three River Forest squad cars and the unmarked Forest Park car followed the van to a driveway near 6th Avenue and Erie Street in Maywood, where Garcia parked the van and then fled on foot.
Forest Park officers arrested the van’s passenger, Flores, in the driveway. Garcia ran from police, however, and was chased by River Forest police before he was eventually caught on the 300 block of 7th Avenue in Maywood.
Both were taken into custody by Forest Park, and were each charged with possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, as well as manufacture or delivery of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis – both felonies. Garcia was also charged with numerous traffic violations, and Flores also had an active arrest warrant for domestic battery.
Meanwhile, at the scene of the crime in front of Sub T, someone fled the restaurant and ran up Lathrop Avenue into River Forest, going inside a home. Officers allegedly entered that home, guns drawn, and took a man into custody. Forest Park police believe the man arrested at that home was involved in the incident, but aren’t sure quite how. He’s being treated as a witness, they said, and has not been charged with any crime at this point.