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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Neighbors Say They Found Lincoln Square’s Notorious Reckless Driver, But Car Owner Blames His Mechanic

"I saw the videos. The driver didn't hurt anybody," the BMW's owner said. "He wasn't endangering anyone."

The car with the loud exhaust neighbors allege someone has been using to terrorize the Lincoln Square area with his reckless driving for the past month.
alex v. hernandez/block club chicago
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LINCOLN SQUARE — A driver has been tormenting Lincoln Square neighbors with his loud exhaust, late night fish-tails around the Lincoln/Leland curve and high speed runs through the neighborhood.

Now, some neighbors think they’ve identified the car creating all of the noise. They’ve called police and alerted the local alderman’s office.

But the owner of the car insists he’s not to blame — although he did say it’s possible his mechanic was behind the wheel.

Since videos of the black sedan have been shared by Block Club, multiple neighbors say a similar looking black sedan is typically seen parked on a specific residential block in Ravenswood. 

Block Club left a note on the BMW with temporary plates Friday, and the car’s owner called to say he isn’t the person recklessly driving around Lincoln Square. He declined to give his name and called from a blocked number.

“I think you got your cars mixed up,” the owner said. “It drives but it doesn’t run right. It’s been like that for months.”

The owner said he bought the BMW for $700 less than a year ago. When asked to elaborate on why he thinks people are accusing his car of driving around Lincoln Square recklessly, the owner blamed a mechanic.

“I’m not a mechanic so I can’t tell you what’s wrong with it. But [the mechanic] is this pretty cool old guy who hangs out in the parking lot of [an auto parts store],” the owner said.

The owner said he didn’t remember when he handed the car over to the mechanic or when he got it back, how much he was charged for repairs or what was wrong with the car.

He could only say for sure the mechanic was in possession of his BMW for “like two weeks.”

“It was Wednesday I got my car back, I think. I honestly could not tell you the dates. I thought today was Saturday,” the owner said. “I’m chilling at home trying to play video games and go to school. I don’t want anything to happen to me and my car because of this shit. “

The owner is frustrated at neighbors who filmed the car speeding through stop signs, red lights and drifting through the heart of Lincoln Square.

“I’m mad about it,” he said. “I don’t want to get my car window broken because of this. I don’t want anybody to touch my car.”

He repeatedly said the person in the videos isn’t him, but also defended the person driving recklessly in the videos circulating online.

“I saw the videos. The driver didn’t hurt anybody. He wasn’t endangering anyone. He maybe scared a few people,” the owner said. “I would hope that mechanic was not joyriding in my car. I’m definitely not going to leave my car with him again. I trust him though. But it’s not like the guy driving in those videos is killing people or stealing things.”

He hung up when pressed for more details.

While neighbors are confident they got the right guy, police said their hands are tied until the driver is caught in the act.

Credit: alex v. hernandez/block club chicago
The car with the loud exhaust neighbors allege someone has been using to terrorize the Lincoln Square area with his reckless driving for the past month.

“They [neighbors] said he’s often out there working on his car. I just walked over and found it parked on the street on Tuesday,” said the neighbor who filmed the driver’s antics Sunday.

The neighbor called Ald. Matt Martin’s office and police after he found the car and officers responded, but no report was filed. 

Officers said to call police again at a time when he sees a “possible offender committing another act, as a vehicle parked does not prove wrongdoing” said Kellie Bartoli, a police spokesperson. 

“They told me they would run the plate and go see if the driver was home,” the neighbor said. “I told them we have video of the guy speeding through stop signs, swerving into the opposite lanes and doing 180 degree turns and drifts. They didn’t ask to see any of that.”

The BMW is an exact match to the one in the video, the neighbor said.

“I matched the type of car, the damage to the passenger side and bumper, the temp plate,” the neighbor said.

Michael Sewall, Ald. Martin’s director of constituent services, said police will keep an eye on the area where the sedan has been seen driving recklessly.

“Police have instructed people to call 911 when they see this reckless driver, and we are requesting city parking enforcement because the city vehicle sticker does not match the car on which it’s displayed,” Sewall said. 

The latest incident caught on video was over the weekend on Lincoln Avenue near the heart of Lincoln Square. The BMW was seen going at least 60 miles per hour in the 4600 block of North Lincoln Avenue. The car is also seen driving in the wrong lane.

Prior to that, a different neighbor recorded the same sedan blowing stop signs while attempting to drift through the curve at Leland and Lincoln avenues near the Lincoln Square arches repeatedly.


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