A judge denied bail Saturday for an 18-year-old high school student from Evanston who police say carjacked an Audi with a sleeping 5-year-old boy inside Thursday from a Park Ridge driveway.
Deangelo Fountain, of the 1300 block of Fowler Avenue, is charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated kidnapping and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle.
Fountain, who had gotten a haircut since the alleged crime, didn't say much as he stood before Judge Adam Bourgeois, who denied bail during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court building. Fountain was wearing a white Warner Brothers Looney Tunes sweatshirt.
At a press conference Saturday morning, Park Ridge police praised the Amber Alert system, crediting it and teamwork among suburban departments, with how they were able to locate the missing boy unharmed in the eventually abandoned vehicle just hours after he was taken.
“It worked perfectly,” Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski said of the Amber Alert system, which provides a description of missing children, vehicles and possible offenders to the public.
Police said the morning of the incident, Fountain left Metro Prep High School in Arlington Heights, where he’s a junior, after an “altercation.” He then made a stop at a Des Plaines storage facility, asking for a plastic bag to protect him from the rain, Kaminski said.
It was after that he made his way to Park Ridge and saw the 2012 Audi Q5 parked and running about 12:20 p.m. outside a home in the 1700 block of Good Avenue. Drake Whitker was asleep in the back seat, while his newly pregnant mother had left the vehicle for about a minute to bring inside some groceries, prosecutors said.
As the woman returned to the vehicle, she saw it backing down the driveway, and jumped on the hood, screaming, “My baby is in the car,” prosecutors said. She also was able to open the driver’s side door, but Fountain pushed her away, shut the door and drove away, prosecutors said.
After police were notified of the incident an Amber Alert was issued with descriptions of Drake, Fountain and the Audi. The system provided police with leads, which led them to Fountain, Kaminski said. Police were also able to use video surveillance from the Des Plaines storage facility to identify Fountain, who was taken into custody Thursday night.
Fountain told police he saw the car running and decided to take it, but later realized a child was asleep in the back and “panicked,” prosecutors said. He also told police he didn’t understand what the boy’s mother was saying when she was screaming for him not to take her child, according to prosecutors. Fountain later left the car, with Drake still in the back and the keys in the ignition, in a Skokie alley about 6 miles away near Oakton Street and Laramie Avenue, police said. He then took a bus home.
Drake was unharmed and slept throughout the incident, waking just before police found the car about 2:15 p.m. because he started to get cold, Kaminski said. The boy's stepfather told WGN-TV that the boy tried to start the car when he woke up because he was cold, put on his mother's ski mask, then got out of the car because he had to go to the bathroom, and was spotted by someone who called police.
In late October, 2013, Fountain was arrested by Glenview police and was charged with residential burglary and burglary, both felonies, records show. Fountain pleaded not guilty to those charges on Nov. 12, 2013, and earlier this month on Feb. 2, he was ordered on electronic home monitoring during a hearing in the Skokie courthouse. Fountain appeared in court again on those charges – just last Tuesday – and the case was continued to March 20, records show.
In April of 2013, he was cited for possession of cannabis but that was dropped during a hearing in the Skokie Courthouse, records show.
He’s due in court next Feb. 25.
Tribune reporter Rosemary Regina Sobol contributed to this report.Copyright © 2015, RedEye