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Drunk driver struck sheriff’s squad, leading to brief pursuit in Beach Park, officials say

Oronday Gardner, 33, of North Chicago.

A 33-year-old man was charged with DUI after he sideswiped a Lake County sheriff’s squad car in Beach Park, leading to a brief chase Saturday, police said.

Oronday Gardner, 33, of the 1400 block of Jackson Street in North Chicago, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated fleeing to elude, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while license revoked and operating an uninsured vehicle.

A Lake County sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop around 2:30 a.m. Saturday on a vehicle near Sheridan Road south of Beach Road in Beach Park.

Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said the deputy was in a marked squad car and the emergency lights were activated. The deputy arrested the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.

A backup deputy arrived on the scene and parked his fully marked squad car, which also had its emergency lights activated, behind the other deputy.

Photos provided by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

While the deputies were tending to the initial scene, a northbound 2000 GMC sideswiped the backup deputy’s squad car, Covelli said.

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“The driver of the GMC fled from the scene, but the deputy who had his squad struck was able to catch up to the GMC. The driver initially refused to pull over for the deputy and continued driving for several blocks before stopping,” Covelli said.

The driver of the GMC, identified as Gardner, was determined to be driving under the influence of alcohol, Covelli said. He was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail.

“Just two weeks ago a deputy was struck head-on by someone driving under the influence. Earlier this year, we had another squad struck by a drunk driver. Now we have this,” Sheriff John Idleburg said.

“We investigate serious crashes year after year where alcohol or drugs were a factor. There is no excuse for getting behind the wheel intoxicated. Drive sober – every time,” Idleburg added.

Gardner remains held in the Lake County Jail on $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.


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