Man Steals Two Cars, Runs Over 92-Year-Old Woman: Police
Justin Vantichelt was arrested in Joliet, two hours after he took the elderly woman's car and took cops on a high-speed chase, police said.
Vantichelt began his alleged spree at about 9:55 a.m. when he approached the 92-year-old woman in the parking lot of the 1590 N. Larkin Ave. food store and grabbed her car keys, Roechner said. As he fled in her vehicle, he knocked the woman to the ground and drove over her legs and then struck three other cars, he said.
The woman was taken to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center for treatment. She was cut and bruised, but did not break any bones, Roechner said.
An Ultra Foods employee who witnessed the situation identified Vantichelt as someone they'd dealt with previously for retail theft, Roechner said.
Based on the description of Vantichelt and the car, Crest Hill police were able to pick up his trail at Weber and Renwick roads and followed him down Weber before losing him as he headed onto northbound Interstate 55, he said.
Romeoville police joined the chase there, following him until he crashed at I-55 and Route 53 and fled on foot, where officers lost him again, Roechner said.
Vantichelt spotted a man getting into an SUV on Route 53 and even though the victim punched him several times, he was able to get the man's keys and flee in his vehicle, Roechner said.
Crest Hill police picked up his trail again as Vantichelt drove on Route 53 toward Joliet, but lost him as he headed into the area near Hutchinson and Center streets, he said.
By that point, Joliet police knew he had been staying with a female friend at the Star Inn at 2219 W. Jefferson St., Roechner said. They spotted the SUV parked on Oneida Street, behind the motel, and spotted Vantichelt in the parking lot, where he was taken into custody, he said.
Vantichelt had told his friends at the motel that he had gotten his facial injuries when someone attacked him and stole his cell phone, Roechner said. Police recovered Vantichelt's phone inside the 92-year-old woman's vehicle, he said.
When interviewed by investigators later, Vantichelt admitted to stealing the two vehicles but offered no explanation for why, Roechner said.
He is being held in the Will County jail on charges of aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, robbery of a handicapped victim/senior citizen, aggravated assault and vehicle theft conspiracy.