Suspect in high-speed police chase charged

January 27, 2011 7:57:45 PM PST
A suspect has been charged in a carjacking that led to a police chase through several suburbs Wednesday.

Larry Hampton, 40, of Chicago, faces charges of vehicular hijacking, robbery and battery. He's accused of robbing a Subway resturant in Des Plaines, then carjacking a taxi. The chase ended in a crash in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

The story involving the stolen cab unfolded on ABC7 News early Wednesday morning.

Police describe Hampton as a career criminal, an "animal" who shouldn't have been on the streets. He is accused in a wild crime spree that played out during Wednesday morning's commute and spread across several northern suburbs.

The incident began at approximately 6 a.m. after a cab driver gave the suspect a ride to a Subway restaurant in Des Plaines. Police say Hampton tried to rob the restaurant during a violent assault. Surveillance video shows the suspect punching and kicking the overnight manager at the restaurant.RAW VIDEO: Subway worker fights suspect

According to authorities, Hampton then ran outside, slugged the cabbie identified as 65-year old Ilias Papaioannou, then took off in his cab.

"He's a very hard worker. So, he's out in the wee hours of the morning. He just thought it was a simple fare," said Rosemont Elite Taxi Spokesperson Alice Catalano.

Police chased Hampton through Morton Grove, Niles and Evanston. It ended when he swiped a school bus on Chicago's Far North Side in the Roger's Park neighborhood.

No children were on that bus. The suspect crawled out of the cab and started running but didn't get far.

"He's an animal that shouldn't be on the streets, and we're very fortunate he was taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department," said Chief Jim Prandini of the Des Plaines Police.

Hampton remained at an Evanston hospital Thursday morning.

The cab driver, who has a son who is a police officer, was not seriously injured when the suspect stole his taxi.