Ex-Chicago Bear among St. Charles youth center guards arrested
Back when he was fighting for a roster spot on the Chicago Bears, Johan Asiata told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter, "I just like to hit people -- that's basically it. I don't get arrested for hitting people, so thank God for that."
That may be true on the football field, but hitting people -- and encouraging others to hit people -- gets you arrested in the real world.
Asiata, 30, who spent two years as a Bears offensive lineman, is among four guards at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles accused of running a sort of fight club involving the facility's juvenile detainees.
Authorities say Asiata and his co-defendants encouraged detainees to fight one another in January 2016, then "stood idly by during the attacks." The Channahon resident faces felony charges of official misconduct, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.
Former at-risk youth
It's a stunning turn of events for a former professional athlete who once credited football and a stint in a school for at-risk youths with taking him away from "knucklehead" life on the streets of Hawaii. After ending up in the Hawaii National Guard-run Youth Challenge Academy for at-risk teens, Asiata went on to play football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where at 6 feet, 4 inches and 310 pounds he became the starting right tackle.
"It was a 180-degree turnaround. It straightened me out," Asiata told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
He joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2009, spent a season on the team's practice squad and then appeared in two games in 2010 before being cut in 2011. Asiata went on to play in the Canadian and Arena leagues before ending his football career in 2014.
An attorney has not yet filed to represent Asiata, who is free on bail. His next court date is Thursday.
Police have been known to find all sorts of contraband when searching a vehicle after a traffic stop that leads to an arrest: drugs, weapons, stolen property, etc.
So it takes a lot to surprise an experienced patrol officer. Something like a grown man willingly locked in the trunk of a compact car for a ride home from the bar.
That's what Libertyville police encountered last month after arresting Justin F. Andrews, 24, of Round Lake Beach on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Just before a tow truck was about to take away Andrews' car, police found his friend, Robert G. Stochl, 26, of Ingleside, in the Ford Fiesta's trunk. Stochl, police said, never bothered to alert anyone of his whereabouts during the traffic stop, even when his friend's car was about to be taken to an impound lot.
"The explanation we got from the passenger in the trunk is that he didn't want to be cramped in the back seat with two other passengers," Libertyville Sgt. Chad Roszkowiak told us this week.
The decision earned Stochl a ticket for failing to wear a seat belt.
Remembering Agent Cowley
A local tragedy was memorialized more than 1,200 miles away from the suburbs this week.
Descendants of slain FBI Special Agent Samuel Cowley gathered with former FBI officials in a Salt Lake City cemetery Monday to honor one of the two G-men killed in a Nov. 27, 1934, shootout with notorious gangster George "Baby Face" Nelson -- an event now known as the Battle of Barrington.
The gunfight took place at present-day Langendorf Park in Barrington, shortly after Cowley and fellow Special Agent Herman E. Hollis spotted Nelson -- the FBI's Public Enemy No. 1 -- and a member of his gang driving a stolen car on Northwest Highway.
Both Cowley and Hollis suffered fatal wounds in the shootout. So did Nelson, who died later that night in a safe house in Wilmette.
This week's memorial service, held at Cowley's burial site in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, included his son, Samuel P. Cowley Jr., placing a small American flag on the late agent's grave, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Are there any young artists in your life? Mount Prospect police want to show off their work.
The department is decorating its front desk and lobby this holiday season with snowmen created by children from the community. Snowmen can be dropped off at the station, 112 E. Northwest Highway.
Check out the department's Facebook page, facebook.com/MountProspectPolice, to see some of the early submissions.
• Got a tip? Have a question? Please email Charles Keeshan and Susan Sarkauskas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our tip line at (847) 427-4483.