Libertyville police say they are investigating whether they nearly had Rockie Lee Douglas less than 24 hours after he is suspected of starting a carjacking spree in the Chicago area and causing a crash that led to a boy's death.
Douglas, 34, of the 12700 block of Major Avenue in Beach Park, was being held without bond Thursday in the Milwaukee County jail, awaiting an extradition hearing.
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Besides three carjackings and the fatal crash, federal, state, Chicago and suburban authorities say Douglas is suspected in a number of robberies and other criminal incidents in Wisconsin and Illinois.
"He has shown through his actions he has absolutely no regard for law enforcement or the law," Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said Thursday.
U.S. Marshals said they captured Douglas in a stolen car in a McDonald's drive-through lane in Milwaukee about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. That capped a manhunt that launched Dec. 20 in Chicago.
Douglas committed the first of three carjackings about 11:20 a.m. Dec. 20 on the 800 block of West Irving Park Road, Chicago police said, by forcing the driver out of a green Dodge Caravan and fleeing.
Libertyville police Lt. William Kinast said Thursday that his agency is investigating whether Douglas was behind the wheel of the same Caravan that officers approached about 7:30 a.m. Dec. 21 on the 900 block of East Park Avenue. He said the vehicle was parked in an industrial area.
"Upon trying to question him, the car took off," Kinast said.
Nerheim said a computer check showed the minivan was taken in Chicago, but investigators want to be certain Douglas was driving before prosecutors seek charges against him. He said the investigation should be resolved soon.
Kinast said Libertyville police briefly gave chase but called it off because of poor weather conditions and the man's reckless driving. He said the Caravan was last seen going east on Route 176.
Chicago police said officers tried to curb Douglas about noon on Dec. 21, but he escaped south on Halsted Street.
Police say he crashed the van into a Chevrolet Suburban on the 5500 block of South Halsted Street, where a family was driving to get haircuts for the holidays. An 11-year-old boy, Donovan Turnage, died in the crash, and his father suffered serious injuries.
After the crash, police say, Douglas abandoned the wrecked Caravan and hijacked a nearby 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Police said that vehicle broke down about 4 p.m. that day on a ramp from I-294 to westbound I-88 in the Oak Brook area.
Paul Darrah, a spokesman for DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, said Douglas punched a 43-year-old woman in the face in an unsuccessful attempt to steal her 2006 Nissan Armada.
Douglas then carjacked a 2007 Honda Accord belonging to a man who had stopped to help him, authorities said.
Darrah said an arrest warrant with a $1 million bond was issued for Douglas, charging him with aggravated vehicular hijacking, attempted vehicular hijacking, vehicular invasion, aggravated battery in a public place and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Darrah said the aggravated vehicular hijacking charge was added because the Honda Accord's owner is older than 60.
Chicago police said Douglas displayed a blue-steel handgun in at least one of the carjackings.
Meanwhile, in Lake County, Douglas is wanted on two felony arrest warrants issued in Lake County on Dec. 13 and 20, Nerheim said. The warrants have a $250,000 bond attached.
In the first case, Douglas is accused of robbing a 78-year-old woman of her purse about 11:15 a.m. Dec. 12 in a parking lot outside Bass Pro Shops at Gurnee Mills.
Douglas and the victim struggled over the purse, and he pushed the woman to the ground before fleeing, police Cmdr. Willie Meyer said.
Douglas was charged with robbery and theft. Meyer said a Douglas didn't show the woman a weapon.
In the second warrant, Douglas is charged with residential burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding and possession of a stolen motor vehicle related to a Dec. 12 incident in Zion, where police were forced to prematurely end three separate pursuits of Douglas.
Records show Douglas has a lengthy criminal history in Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2003, Douglas received probation and his father, Phillip, four years in prison in connection with the discovery of 75 pounds of marijuana in their Beach Park home.