Driver Faces Additional Charges of Leading Police on High-Speed Chase
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Oak Brook Deputy Chief of Police Reid Foltyniewicz announced today that Judge Joshua Dieden has granted the State’s motion to deny pre-trial release for a Chicago woman accused of stealing from the Oak Brook Ulta store and leading police on a high-speed chase. Damonica Stewart, 27 (d.o.b. 2/1/1996) of the 5300 block of S. Wood Street, appeared at First Appearance Court this morning charged with one count of Burglary (Class 2 Felony), one count of Retail Theft (Class 3 Felony) and two counts of Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding (Class 4 Felony). Judge Dieden denied the State’s motion to detain pre-trial Stewart’s co-defendants, Omesha Hawkins, 28 (d.o.b. 12/21/1994) of the 5400 block of Aberdeen Street and Onequa Hawkins, 32 (d.o.b. 4/21/1991) of the 2100 block of 72nd Place. Both women, from Chicago, are charged with one count of Burglary (Class 2 Felony) and two counts of Retail Theft (one Class 3 Felony and one Class 4 Felony).
It is alleged that on December 4, 2023, at approximately 3:15 p.m., the three defendants entered the Oak Brook Ulta store located at 2155 W. 22nd Street. It is alleged that the trio stole multiple items totaling more than $300 and left the store without paying for the merchandise. It is further alleged that the women then entered a BMW and fled the area. An Oak Brook police officer responded to the area and located the BMW allegedly turning against a one way only sign near 22nd Street and Midwest Road. The officer activated his emergency lights and sirens and initiated pursuit of the defendants’ vehicle, allegedly driven by Stewart. It is alleged that Stewart did not pull over and instead accelerated, reaching speeds of approximately 70 mph. It is further alleged that as Stewart fled the officer, she drove erratically down 22nd Street weaving in and out of lanes, drove on the median at one point to pass vehicles at a stop light and drove between vehicles waiting at a stop light. It is alleged that Stewart’s vehicle came to a stop after striking two other vehicles. All three defendants were taken into custody at this time. Upon searching the BMW, authorities found merchandise stolen from Ulta.
“It is alleged that these three defendants helped themselves to more than three hundred dollars’ worth of merchandise from Ulta and simply walked out the door without paying,” Berlin said. “To make matters worse, it is alleged that the driver of their getaway vehicle, Ms. Stewart, then led police on a high-speed chase in the middle of the afternoon during the busy holiday shopping season, putting the general public as well as innocent motorists at risk. I applaud the Oak Brook Police Department for once again doing what they do best – arresting anyone who threatens public safety which keeps our businesses and patrons safe as they enjoy the holiday season. I thank the Bloomingdale and Oakbrook Terrace Police Department for their assistance in this case. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Bethany Jackson, Alexandria Levan and Michael Pingaj for their work in securing charges against these defendants.”
“We want to thank State's Attorney Bob Berlin and his staff,” Foltyniewicz said. “We sure keep them busy. Our officers and loss prevention did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, this is a daily occurrence; however, the positive is our officers and the business community continue to improve our tactics and communication. The radio traffic and plan worked out. If you continue to commit crime in Oak Brook, you will continue to be locked up. As always, we thank the entire Oak Brook community for your support.”
The next court appearance for all three defendants is scheduled for December 26, 2023, for arraignment in front of Judge Margaret O’Connell. As a condition of their release, the defendants are prohibited from entering any Ulta store.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendants’ guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.