Oak Lawn police charged two Chicago residents with aggravated speeding and street racing after two officers stopped one car each that the police alleged were traveling up to 65 miles per hour in the 30 mile per hour zone.
At about 11:30 p.m. on March 14th, one Oak Lawn officer alleged that the two vehicles were traveling west near Central Avenue on Southwest Highway at a high rate of speed. The officer alleged that the two drivers appeared to be attempting to outdistance each other to prevent the other vehicle from passing.
The officer turned on his emergency lights in the hope of slowing the cars down since the drivers were in a residential area. The first officer stopped one of the cars, driven by Brian Gonzalez and told him to remain at the scene. As he began the pursuit of the other car, driven by Anika Johnson, another officer, stopped at 95th and Southwest Highway waiting for the light to change, was able to stop that car.
The first officer spoke with Gonzalez who allegedly admitted driving in excess of 65 MPH but denied he was drag racing. He was taken into custody for aggravated speeding and street racing.
Johnson told the officers that she was driving 47 in a 35 mph zone and the other vehicle, driven by Gonzalez, cut her off at the traffic light. Johnson allegedly stated that she was only trying to get away from the other car because, as a truck driver, she is cut off all the time and knows that the best idea is to get away from the car cutting you off. She was told that the speed she was traveling was actually 65 miles per hour.
Johnson was also taken into custody for aggravated speeding and street racing. Gonzalez is a 23 year old Hispanic male with a Chicago residence. Johnson is a 42 year old black female with a Chicago residence.
Any driver that receives a ticket for driving 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit is charged with “aggravated speeding”, which is a misdemeanor offense. On January 1, 2014, the law was changed to set the cutoffs of 26 mph over the limit as a Class B misdemeanor and 35 mph over the limit as a Class A misdemeanor.
The maximum penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor is up to 354 days in county jail and a $2,500 fine plus court costs. The maximum penalty for a Class B Misdemeanor is up to 180 days in county jail and a $1,500 fine plus court costs.
Drag racing is defined as the operation of at least two vehicles side by side traveling at high speeds that are trying to outdistance each other. It also involves one or more vehicles attempting to outdistance another, reach a destination before another, or prevent another vehicle from passing.
Drag racing is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail.