Two men arrested after a stolen car crashed into a home

Two men arrested after a stolen car crashed into a home

CHAMPAIGN — Two men arrested after a stolen car crashed into a Champaign home over the weekend are scheduled to make their next court appearances May 14.

Demetrius Winfrey, 26, who listed an address in the 400 block of North State Street, Champaign, pleaded innocent Monday to one count of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of aggravated driving under the influence.

Winfrey is being held at the Champaign County Jail on $27,000 bond.

Ricardo J. Jackson, 32, who listed an address in the 1400 block of Holly Hill Drive, Champaign, pleaded innocent Monday to unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle.

Jackson was released after posting 10 percent of a $1,500 bond.

According to a police report, Winfrey and Jackson approached two people who were repairing a sound system on a vehicle Saturday in a driveway in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue.

Winfrey and Jackson started talking to the workers about the car, and Winfrey told one of them, "I want your car," according to the report.

Police said Winfrey and Jackson returned to the driveway about 8:15 p.m., found the car unattended and running, and pulled away in the vehicle, with Winfrey driving and Jackson as the passenger.

A few minutes later, the car crashed into a home at 202 N. Mattis Ave.

Shawn Sutton, the owner of the one-story ranch home, said his roommate, Thomas Moss, was in the kitchen petting one of Sutton's dogs when the car crashed through the front of Sutton's home, taking out a picture window and the wall below it and heavily damaging the front end of the car.

"I was in my detached garage (just north of the house) when the girl with me said, 'Did you hear that?'" Sutton said on Saturday night.

He said he and his friends walked up the street to the north and didn't see anything.

The view of the car sticking out of his house, which was south of where they were, was obscured by a shrub.

Later that evening a woman reported seeing a man, later identified as Winfrey, in the 1200 block of Northwood Drive, Champaign, bleeding from the head.

Winfrey was taken to Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, where police said he was arrested after he was treated for severe lacerations. The report said that Winfrey's clothing was covered in blood.

While Winfrey admitted to police that he had been drinking, he told them the injuries were due to allegedly being attacked by a group of men. Police said Winfrey has no valid driver's license.

Police found Jackson in the 900 block of North McKinley Avenue after a resident reported seeing a man with blood on his body.

Jackson told police he had known Winfrey for a long time, that both of them got into the car and that Winfrey had been the one who had been driving.

Sutton said he and his three friends saw police cars going past them and turned around to find the car, which was partially in his living room.

"I've just had this house over a year," said Sutton, surveying the heavy damage.

He said Moss was renting from him and had lived there about a month. Moss' 4-year-old son was also in the house but was not hurt when the car came crashing through. Sutton said his two dogs were not hurt either.

Sutton said he talked to Moss by phone and was told his arm was injured.

The car was pulled out of the house by a tow truck about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Sutton, meantime, was preparing to board it up after having contacted his insurance agent.

"If we were five minutes later, somebody would have been killed," said Sutton, adding that he and his friends had been sitting in the living room where the car was only minutes before the crash.

Staff writer Mary Schenk contributed to the story.

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