Man found guilty of hijacking taxi, crashing into school bus

Site of bus crash.
A Chicago man was found guilty on multiple charges Wednesday following a high-speed chase across the metropolitan area that ended when the taxi he hijacked crashed into a school bus in Rogers Park.

Here is a portion of the the story from TribLocal:

A Chicago man who led police on a televised multi-suburb chase in a hijacked taxi last year before crashing into a school bus was found guilty on all charges at the Skokie courthouse on Wednesday. He could be sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Larry Hampton, 45, of the 10000 block of South Prairie Avenue, was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking, multiple counts of aggravated robbery and battery, following a January 2011 robbery, vehicular hijacking, and police chase that started in Des Plaines and ended in Chicago.

Hampton fired his public defenders long before the start of his three-day jury trial, which began Monday, and acted as his own defense attorney, officials said. It took the jury less than two hours on Wednesday to reach its guilty verdict, according to prosecutors.

Authorities said Hampton hailed a cab around 6 a.m. near the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont on Jan. 26, 2011 and went to a Subway at the corner of Touhy Avenue and Mannheim Road in Des Plaines.

When he saw the eatery was busy, he told the cabbie to take him to a Subway in the 2000 block of Miner Street, police said.

Once there, Hampton tried to take money from the cash register but the clerk is shown on surveillance video fighting back with a bread knife and hitting Hampton with a chair, police said.

They said the two continued to fight outside, where the 65-year-old taxi driver was waiting. Hampton then attacked the driver, tearing the keys from his coat pocket and stole the cab, police said.

Morton Grove police saw the stolen taxi headed east on Golf Road and began following it, authorities said. A short time later, the taxi clipped a school bus in the Rogers Park neighborhood, police said. They said Hampton crawled from the taxi and started to run away but was tackled by police and arrested. No one on the school bus was injured.

“All of this was caught by television news cameras, which we played for the jury,” Assistant State’s Atty. Edward McCarthy said following Hampton’s conviction. “He was found guilty due to the clear and convincing testimony by the two victims as to the violence this guy did on them.”

Hampton’s criminal history includes 27 arrests, according to authorities.

McCarthy said Wednesday marks Hampton’s third class x conviction, making him eligible for a sentence of natural life in prison. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Garritt Howard is scheduled to enter a sentence at the Skokie courthouse on June 8.


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