State Briefs 3/25/08
Police investigating possible hate crime against woman
GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn police are investigating an incident earlier this month that may be classified as a hate crime.
A woman called police after finding a swastika carved into the stairwell handle outside her apartment on March 13. The woman also found a note taped to her car in January that addressed her with a racial epithet and said, “We know who you are. We know where you live. We don’t want your kind here. Go back where you came from,” according to Glen Ellyn police reports. The woman did not report the January incident at the time because she thought it was a prank, reports state.
Glen Ellyn Deputy Police Chief Bill Holmer said police are investigating, but leads are slim at this point. There is nothing at this point to suggest a link to a swastika spray-painted on the door of a Wheaton home on March 15.
Wheaton police have ruled that incident was not a hate crime, said Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Tom Meloni.
“There’s no indication that it’s related to nationality, race, gender or any other classification,” he said. “It’s simply gang graffiti.”
Meloni declined to say which gang is suspected to be involved so as not to give notoriety to the vandals.
Suburban Life Publications
One killed, two others injured in crash
ROSCOE – A two-car accident killed one man and injured two other people Tuesday morning.
About 10 a.m., a van was eastbound on Hononegah Road as a gray sedan attempted to turn west off Edgemere Terrace onto Hononegah. The van struck the driver's side of the sedan. The driver of the sedan was killed and his passenger, a woman, is in critical condition at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, where she was airlifted by helicopter.
Another woman, who was driving the van, was transported by ambulance to Rockford Memorial Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.
Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia said authorities are trying to contact relatives of the deceased crash victim to see whether he had a medical condition. An autopsy will be performed Wednesday, she said.
The victims' names have not been released pending families' notification.
Rockford Register Star
City sued over removal of anti-abortion advertising
ROCKFORD -- A group of area residents is claiming that the city ordered the removal of anti-abortion advertising on a bench at Summit and East State streets in spring 2006.
A lawsuit filed in Rockford’s federal court last week states that residents entered a contract with a local advertising agency to place the message “Abortion Kills Children” on a public bus stop bench across from SwedishAmerican Hospital in October 2005 and that the bench was vandalized regularly beginning in March 2006.
The suit claims that one of the residents, who is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, witnessed a city employee removing an anti-abortion picture from the bench on March 18, 2006, and that on April 25, 2006, the same resident noticed that the group’s message was replaced with an ad stating “Your ad on this bench” with a phone number for the advertising company.
The resident later learned that the advertising company received a letter from the city demanding that the anti-abortion message be removed, the lawsuit states.
The residents are suing the city for what they call a violation of their constitutional rights to free speech.
The case has been referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney. No court date has been set.
Rockford Register Star
Man arrested for making fake 911 call
SPRINGFIELD – A man arrested Monday night for firing shots outside a home apparently fired no shots at all, though he did threaten to kill the residents and set the house on fire, police said.
Fredrick J. Tremain, 31, was taken to Sangamon County Jail after fleeing from police and eventually being caught.
Grandview Police Chief Mike Feleccia said Tuesday that Tremain was recently kicked out of the home because of his drinking problem. Monday night he started calling the house and threatening the residents.
A short time later 911 received a call that a man named “Joe-Joe” was outside the house, had shot a gun five times and was threatening to kill everyone.
Feleccia said that after all was said and done, police determined “Joe-Joe” was Tremain and that he called 911 himself pretending to be one of the residents inside. The residents told officers they never heard any gunshots and that they never called 911 to say he had a gun.
“As far as I could tell there was no gun, there were no shots fired. It's just that Mr. Tremain was calling in this false call for whatever reason,” Feleccia said.
Police are seeking several charges against Tremain, including intimidation, disorderly conduct, aggravated assault and making a false 911 call.
Boy pulled from pool dies
BLOOMINGTON – A 13-year-old boy was pronounced dead Tuesday, a day after he was pulled from a YWCA swimming pool during a youth outing.
CoJuan M. Harris died of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen when he drowned, said McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling.
He was pronounced brain dead at 8 a.m. at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and removed from life support at 11:32 a.m., Kimmerling said.
The boy was a sixth-grader at Bloomington Junior High School, Kimmerling said.
He was taking part in a Boys and Girls Club event when rescue personnel were called at about 2:50 p.m. Monday to the YWCA.
Kimmerling said authorities do not yet know how long the boy was in the water. His death remains under investigation.
Peoria Journal Star