Man steals Oak Park police car with woman arrested for drunken driving in back seat

Chase ends at dead end near 9 Mile Road

OAK PARK, Mich. – Car thieves don't usually target police cruisers, but one man in Oak Park did, taking off with a back-seat passenger who'd just been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, police said.

An Oak Park police officer said he was very aware of a man lingering near the car of the woman he'd just arrested, but the officer didn't know the man would jump into his police cruiser and take off.

An ensuing chase spanned several miles through Oak Park and ended with big dents on the right side of the cruiser.

Lt. Samantha Kretzschmar said the incident had started with a stalled vehicle in the left-hand lane with its hazards on.

The woman behind the wheel was suspected of being drunk, but there was also a man lurking around her car.

"He was told by the woman that she did not know who he was and he wasn't giving complete stories as to why he was there," Kretzschmar said.

The man was escorted away from the scene, but he came back and jumped into the police cruiser, taking off with the woman who had just been arrested in the back seat.

When the officer realized what was happening, she ran up to the car and tried to open the door.

"As officers got close to the area, a pursuit was initiated and went through the city of Oak Park for some miles," Kretzschmar said.

The chase ended when the man hit a dead end near 9 Mile Road. He was taken into custody, but not before damaging another police cruiser.

"We don't know what his motivations are," Kretzschmar said. "We don't know what his mental health is."

Police are trying to learn the answers to those questions in the odd case.

The identities of the accused drunken driver and the man who stole the police cruiser won't be released until they're officially charged.

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