Van stolen; rowdy ride ends with arrest

Javon Lamar Williams

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK – An alleged car thief who took police for a long drive early Monday said that, among other things, stealing the van was mostly about peer pressure.

When he was finally taken into custody, 18-year-old Javon Lamar Williams explained what lead up to an early morning road trip.

“He’d been up all night with friends who were out stealing cars,” investigators said in the report. “His friends told him they would call him a ’cur’ if he did not steal a vehicle that night.”

Duly dared, Williams was reportedly given a purple, girls’ bicycle, which he pedaled up and down a few residential streets before cycling into the 1500 block of Ethel Ave. at about 7:30 a.m. On that street, the owner of a 2001 silver Honda Odyssey, valued at $2,000, had started the vehicle, but returned inside and left it running.

The van’s owner watched the young man make off with the vehicle, and called Lincoln Park Police. Responding officers cruised the neighborhood and areas known to be destinations for stolen vehicles.

An officer heading west on Outer Drive saw the Honda approaching a stop sign. The patrol car u-turned, to which the suspect responded with his own 180-degree turn and drove off at a high rate of speed.

A chase at speeds in excess of 80 mph followd, with the suspect “disregarding all stop signs,” according to the report. The Honda turned west on Schaefer toward Fort Street and drove onto northbound I-75. Although the Honda’s driver slowed to 40 mph, the driver resisted pulling over and exited at Livernois, drove the service drive and returned to I-75 where it drove at a slow rate of speed.

The Honda began exiting onto westbound I-96, where Williams attempted to pass a semi on the left side, but got pushed into the wall and disabled the vehicle.

Not one but two young men exited the vehicle through the driver’s window. Before being spotted by police, Williams picked up a friend who soon after entering the vehicle saw flashing lights cast in their direction.

Responding officers notified other nearby police agencies, and the foot-chase ended quickly with Williams and his passenger soon in custody.

Williams told investigators he saw the police turn and follow him, but at first thought they were on regular patrol. When the sirens flashed, he debated whether or not to stop due to outstanding warrants. After the crash, he was confused and said that’s why he ran from the police.

Williams was arraigned Thursday in Lincoln Park’s 25th District Court on five charges: Felony auto theft, which carries a potential five-year prison sentence; fleeing a police officer, a two-year felony; habitual felony offender, second offense; assaulting and resisting a police officer; and reckless driving. Williams was being held on $50,000 or 10 percent bond, and will have a preliminary exam on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

(James Mitchell can be reached at