Drivers Shut Down Eisenhower Expressway To Perform Dangerous Stunts -- Where Were Illinois State Police?
CHICAGO (CBS) -- It looks like a scene from the "Fast and the Furious" movies, but it's real – drivers were recently seen on video pulling dangerous stunts right on the Eisenhower Expressway.
If you're wondering how it was allowed to happen, so are we. CBS 2's Jermont Terry went searching for answers Monday.
Imagine hopping on the Ike, only to come to a complete stop – not because of rush hour, an accident, or an emergency – but because some people decided to shut the expressway down. On Monday night, a close look at the pavement still reveals some tire marks left behind from a crew of car enthusiasts who took over the Eisenhower Expressway.
Video shows people with their phones in hand standing in the middle of the expressway on Saturday night. People used their cars and blocked all the outbound lanes of traffic to take video of a crew doing dangerous stunts.
One person is heard calling it "funny as hell."
The tire marks left behind on the Eisenhower near Racine Avenue were not just from one vehicle. There were multiple cars.
People were hanging out of car windows to the glory of those recording – all while traffic backed up for the illegal show.
There are various videos that have been shared on social media. One particular live video lasted for more than three minutes – yet it is not clear how long the Ike was shut down.
But we do know the crew never encountered a single Illinois State Police trooper – as dangerous and illegal car stunts went on.
CBS 2 reached out to Illinois State Police to find out how such a thing could happen on one of Chicago's busiest interstates.
The Ike is one of many city expressways where ISP saturated patrols because there were so many expressway shootings. While no one was shot or injured in this case, what played out over the weekend raises more questions about whether ISP has any control – or has simply lost control of the expressways they patrol.
On Monday night, CBS 2 was still waiting on the ISP to explain when troopers were alerted, if cameras caught the act, and more importantly, how they can ensure it won't happen again.
UPDATE: Illinois State Police released the following answers to our questions, beginning with a statement reading: "On Saturday night into Sunday, 12:22 am, I-290 WB at Racine and had one single call of "reckless drivers." We had multiple incidents that were occupying our resources in the District."
Q: Are you aware of the incidents?
A: We are aware of the incident that reportedly took place the evening of Sunday December 19th on I-290 near Racine.
Q: Were there any reports into ISP about the traffic shutdown?
A: We did have one single call reference reckless drivers in the area. At the time Troopers were handling a shooting and we had Troopers investigating multiple crashes throughout the Chicagoland area. We had an ongoing felony arrest with multiple weapons involved. In addition, we had numerous units on traffic stops throughout the District.
Q: Are there cameras installed along this stretch of the expressway that alerted ISP of the problem?
A: We were not alerted by the cameras in the area of an on-going incident.
Q: There are complaints this has happened on many weekends along I290 can you confirm?
A: We have not had previous calls for service for similar reckless driving incidents on or along I-290.
Q: Did ISP investigate the matter? Any arrests/citations?
A: We are continuing to investigate the incident and utilizing investigative resources to take further action.
Q: Where do you stand in investigating this matter?
A: It is a continuing investigation and the ISP is working hard to investigate all available leads. If further information is available to share, we will do so at the appropriate time.
Q: What's being don't to prevent this from occurring again?
A: ISP remains committed to utilizing all available resources to safeguard the public. ISP has demonstrated commitment to combatting crime and saving lives by deploying Troopers into the Chicagoland area from all over Illinois on a constant basis since October of 2021- a 169% increase in Trooper presence on Chicago Expressways.
During this expanded enforcement detail, ISP Troopers have made 3696 stops, for 7558 violations, 86 criminal arrests, 67 seized firearms, 176 DUIs, 28 warrants, 1,758 motorist assists and 4252 crashes. We have utilized our Air Ops and K9s and Handlers as a vital tool in our enforcement. Over the past two years, ISP has added 235 Troopers to its ranks, but we continue to work with the General Assembly to obtain much needed funding for more Troopers to staff busy Chicagoland Expressways as well as other expressways throughout Illinois.
The ISP's hard working Troopers are one of the most versatile public safety tools in Illinois. Troopers fight crime, enhance highway safety, respond to critical incidents and natural disasters and serve to assist other agencies in the name of public safety. Our ISP Troopers are responsible for patrolling over 2,000 expressway miles statewide along with over 15,000 state highway miles. We remain committed to the mission of protecting the public.
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