04/23/2007

Ill. man leaving car crash takes hostages in stand-off

By Robert Channick
Chicago Tribune

ELGIN, Ill. — An Elgin man fleeing the scene of a car crash tried to carjack two vehicles before taking refuge — and three hostages — in a downtown cellular phone store Saturday afternoon, police said.

The standoff, which occurred about a block from the Grand Victoria Casino, lasted less than 30 minutes before the man released the hostages unharmed and surrendered to police, authorities said.

Gervacio Manzo, 26, was charged by the Kane County state's attorney's office with attempted aggravated robbery and unlawful restraint, police said.

The chain of events began with a crash about 4 p.m. on Villa Street, south of East Chicago Street. Manzo, one of several people in the car who ran away after the crash, tried to carjack a vehicle nearby, pointing what was later determined to be a BB pistol at the driver, police said.

"She never got out of the car," said Sgt. Sean Rafferty, an Elgin police spokesman. "He tried the door handle, and she just kind of drove off."

After another failed attempt several blocks away, police saw Manzo run into the store at 119 S. Grove Avenue with the weapon concealed in his waistband.

Manzo locked the door and prevented three people from leaving until he was coaxed out by a police hostage negotiator, backed by the Elgin tactical response team, police said.

Additional charges are possible, Rafferty said.

Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune Company

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