URBANA — A Champaign County jury convicted an Urbana teen of fleeing from police in a car that later crashed into a car and a garage.
The jury deliberated about five hours Thursday before convicting Herbert Shah, 19, whose last known address was in the 700 block of East Illinois Street, of aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer. The jury acquitted him, however, of possession of a stolen vehicle.
Judge Brian McPheters set sentencing for March. Shah faces penalties ranging from probation to one to three years in prison on the fleeing conviction.
The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred Oct. 2, 2010.An Urbana police officer ran a license check on a car near Cunningham and University avenues and found the vehicle had been reported stolen. The car, with three occupants, turned off Cunningham and headed east on University before pulling over for the officer.
Officer Matt Mecum told the driver to turn off his engine but he didn't and took off.
Mecum followed the driver, whom he later identified as Shah, to Dodson Drive, where the car pulled into a driveway, hitting a car parked in the driveway and hitting the garage door.
Both the car that Shah was driving and the car that was hit in the driveway were considered a total loss, Assistant State's Attorney Chris Kanis said. Damage to the house was estimated at $1,700, he said.
The car that Shah was driving had been reported stolen about a month before the incident from a University of Illinois student living in Champaign, he said.
Shah testified that he wasn't driving and had gotten a ride from a man he didn't know. He also said he had no knowledge that the car had been stolen.
Shah is also charged with armed robbery and residential burglary stemming from his arrest Dec. 12 in Urbana following a standoff with police at an apartment in the 900 block of North Broadway Avenue. He is scheduled to be back in court on that case Feb. 7.