Criminal Justice

Hailing cab in handcuffs points police to man who escaped custody en route to court hearing


A defendant in a domestic violence case who was found unfit for trial earlier this year escaped from custody Wednesday, en route to a court hearing in suburban Chicago, after the Illinois state vehicle in which he was being transported from a mental health facility stopped at a gas station.

However, Jesse Vega, 33, was recaptured some eight hours later after he hailed a cab in Elgin, the same city in which he escaped, reports the Chicago Tribune. He was still wearing handcuffs at the time.

A resident who saw Vega hail the cab called police, as did the cab driver. “The cab driver called their dispatch center, and our dispatch was already on the phone with them, so it was kind of simultaneous,” Elgin Police Cmdr. Ana Lalley told the newspaper.

Vega, who is also known as Jesse Ortiz, is now scheduled for a Thursday bond hearing at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan.

He faces charges including domestic battery causing great bodily harm concerning a Sept. 29 incident in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America in Gurnee that left a woman with a fractured skull.

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