By Jeremy Gorner, Adam Sege and Rosemary Regina Sobol
9:14 AM CDT, April 1, 2013
The woman works at a restaurant and rides the "L" all the time and had never been afraid on the trains. But then she found herself in the middle of one of two disturbances by groups of teens on the North Side over the weekend.
"I've never been scared like this before," said the 27-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified. "We were just minding our own business. ... It was really, really violent."
The woman said she was returning home with her mother Saturday night on the Red Line after a dim sum dinner when a group of girls got on the train at the Monroe station and appeared to want to pick a fight.
"This girl started blowing smoke in my face, and she flicked her cigarette ashes at me," said the woman. "I said: 'You need to put that out,' and the next thing I know there's all these girls that jumped on top of us."
They began punching her face and then went for her hair. She believes they had knives or box cutters, and padlocks possibly placed inside socks.
"I put my head down between my legs so they would stop beating me in the face, but they were trying to pull my face up and hit me more," she said. "They ripped out chunks of my hair, and I've got a black eye and bruises on my face, and all over my back and shoulder."
The woman said the attack happened between two stations while the train was moving. "There was nobody to help. There was no time, really. We were surrounded, it happened in one stop, and then they got off the next stop, at Lake," she said.
As the train stopped, the group grabbed her purse, ran off and jumped the turnstile, she said. The woman ran after them, though, and eventually got her purse back and went to the police station to press charges.
Eleven teenagers were arrested around 6:35 p.m. Stephanie Hosch, 18, of 1300 block of North Central Avenue, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. Ten juveniles were charged with battery, and two of them were also charged with strong-arm robbery, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala said.
The 11 teens told police they had agreed on Twitter to meet downtown. It appeared that several of those arrested had not met before Saturday, authorities said.
About an hour later, 17 people were arrested after they allegedly bumped into other people on the sidewalks, blocked sidewalks and traffic on the street and started fights among themselves on the Magnificent Mile near North Michigan Avenue and East Huron Street. No injuries were reported.
All but two of the 17 charged were younger than 18. The two adults are Bobby K. Rhodes, 19, of the 1100 block of North Cambridge Avenue, and Marquell Hicks, 18, of the 3200 block of West Diversey Avenue, police said. They were all charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct.
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