Chicago police officer David Harris was killed on his way home from work when a van fleeing police struck his car early Friday morning. While the accident is still under investigation, Calumet Park Police Chief Mark Davis said there was an order issued to stop pursuit of the van before the crash.
The officer pursuing the van was identified as Jerald Nettles, who has been placed on desk duty while the department reviews if its policy was followed.
Harris had been assigned to a special team tasks to South Side hot spots. He was 15 minutes from his home when the van slammed into his Lexus, pushing it into a light pole at South Lafayette Avenue and 87th Street at 1 am. He died at the scene.
Calumet Park police were questioning the van’s driver after she was treated for a broken arm. A passenger was transported to the hospital under police guard for treatment of more serious injuries. According to Davis, several bags of marijuana were found in the van.
Nettles has worked for 8 different police departments for the last 13 years, primarily in part-time positions in the suburbs. He has worked in Calumet Park for five years. Davis commended his performance, saying he is one of the department’s top officers in terms of productivity.
The driver of the van was a 31-year-old woman who never had a driver’s license and had been stopped several times for speeding, driving without a license and disregarding stop signs and yield signs. She also has a history of theft and shoplifting convictions. The passenger was a 33-year-old man who has a history of drug-related charges.