Illinois

Man with an ice pick chases motorcyclist displaying a Mexican flag, Illinois cops say

Violent and property crime stats for Illinois

According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.
Up Next
According to data from the FBI, property and violent crimes continue to decrease in Illinois, though the violent crime's are still slightly higher than the national average.

An Illinois man has been arrested after chasing a motorcyclist with an ice pick, police say.

A 57-year-old Hispanic man was riding his motorcycle down a street in Lake County on Wednesday when a man in an SUV “abruptly changed lanes,” cutting off the motorcycle, police said in a Facebook post.

Police say the motorcyclist, who was displaying a Mexican flag on his bike, was trying to get the SUV’s license plate number when the driver, Joseph Zens, 67, stopped and got out of his car.

68601065_2465559140170167_7793551894730768384_n (1_fitted.jpeg
Joseph Zens, 67, is charged with a hate crime after chasing a motorcyclist with an icepick in Illinois, police say. Lake County Sheriff's Department

Zens yelled at the motorcyclist telling him to “go back to his country” along with several racial slurs and expletives, police say.

Zens then grabbed an ice pick out of his SUV and began chasing the victim while continuing to yell slurs. The victim hopped back on his bike and took off before Zens was able to strike him, police say.

Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, talks generally about hate crime laws. What makes these crimes unique is that they are directed at whole groups of people, she said.

After the victim called police, officers spoke with Zens at his home where they found an ice pick in his SUV, police say. Zens was arrested and taken to Lake County Jail.

Zens is charged with a felony hate crime which could land him in prison for three years, police say. His lesser charge of misdemeanor aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

“This type of hateful conduct will never be tolerated in Lake County,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said in a statement.

Zens bail is set at $15,000 and he’s expected to appear in court on Aug. 28.

“Hate has absolutely no place in Lake County,” Sheriff John Idleburg said in a statement. “Being victimized because of the color of one’s skin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected classification is completely unacceptable. We will always be there to stand up for the victims of crime.”

Related stories from Belleville News-Democrat

Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.
  Comments