Man Charged With Abandoning Stolen Cars For Metra Trains To Smash

Updated 12/20/11 – 8:38 p.m.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) — Police in northwest suburban Des Plaines have charged a 19-year-old man in two incidents in which stolen cars were abandoned on railroad tracks and then struck by Metra North Central Line trains.

Kenneth Cooper, of the 8900 block of North Washington Street in Niles, has been charged with two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Des Plaines police said Cooper was arrested on Dec. 7 in a stolen car. Detectives said a stolen GPS that Cooper had with him was traced back to a stolen vehicle that had been destroyed by a Metra train.

Police said Cooper later implicated himself in two incidents in which stolen cars were left on the Metra North Central Line tracks and then destroyed by Metra trains.

Deputy Police Chief Mike Kozak said Cooper confessed to leaving the cars on the Metra tracks.

Asked if Cooper said why he did it, Kozak said, “He’s a thrill-seeker.”

Both incidents happened in the early morning hours. Each time, train No. 100 hit an abandoned car lying on the tracks at the Seegers Road crossing, and was delayed in its arrival in Chicago from Antioch at 6:55 a.m.

In the incident on Nov. 29, the wrecked car became stuck to the front of the train and had to be pried off. The train was delayed significantly as a result.

In the second incident on Dec. 5, the train pushed the car out of the way and was only held up for a short time.

Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said Cooper’s thrill seeking could have injured or even killed passengers on the Metra trains that struck the stolen cars.

Seeing the abandoned cars on the tracks also likely rattled the trains’ engineers.

“It’s very nerve-wracking to the crews. You know, the engineers are behind the controls. They can see cars ahead of time and their greatest concern, obviously, is that somebody’s in them,” Pardonnet said.

She also said the case won’t end with prosecuting Cooper for stealing the cars.

“What we’re going to do is reach out to the State’s Attorney’s office and make sure that charges can be considered that would include putting the life and safety of our passengers and our crew in danger as well as the equipment having possible damage,” Pardonnet said.

Cooper was due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 27, at the Skokie Courthouse, according to police.

  • rmh

    You wonder: “what will they think of next?” Wah-la, here it is. What a shame.

  • pablo

    Kid needs to be severely beaten by a prison inmate who made him his beeotch!

  • Micheal Savage

    To bad they can’t tie him to the rails and see if he bounces off the train,to me this kid doesn’t deserve to live ,many people could have perished or have been injured.

  • megan and konnie

    kenny is a good guy. yeah he messed up. if you people dont know him in person you cant judge you dont no what hes been through in his life so dont be judging him and be saying he should be killed.

    • Afro

      Hey this guy is a menace i don’t care what he has been through in his life he don’t have the right to go risking the lives of others and trying to hurt them I don’t like the NlGGERS in Chicago but I don’t have the right to go try to hurt them for no reason Gawd have mercy on any that provoke me though because I wont

    • tj

      AHHH, poor little Kenny. Is he another one of societies victims? Well I hope his new thrill seeking venture is at the hands of BUBBA the prison inmate. And nevermind the fact, that he could have killed someone on one of those trains had the car got stuck under the train and derailed it. You two Bimbos must have as much intelegence as Kenny does.

    • disgusted

      A good kid? He just “messed up”? Seriously girls, really think about what he did, how many people could have gotten hurt or killed. This isn’t egging a house. Did you girls or Kenny even think of the conductor of the train who was probably totally freaking out because he thought someone would be killed. No, Kenny should not be killed but you and Kenny need some help. I don’t think your brains are working correctly. The EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING these days is “what he’s been through in his life” really infuriates me. A lot of us have gone through things is our lives yet we don’t put cars on tracks. Please read your comment and really think about it.

  • Centurion

    Kenneth Cooper is a seriously sick and disturbed looking POS. The 2 idiots Megan and Konnie, obviously have no brains, no self esteem, and are madly in love with this violent piece of garbage known as Kenneth Cooper. One day, he is gonna have those 2 idiots in the trunk of one of those stolen cars..and they will be crushed by a metra train. If you don’t believe me, go ahead…let him out of jail and give him another chance.

  • a parent

    Megan and Konnie’s comment just show once again how ‘policies’ can backfire.Kids in schools now a days are taught total ‘acceptance’ of their peers. While this may sound good on paper,i.e.-no more bullying and empathy for their fellow man, it has resulted in zero peer pressure for positive behavior and excuses for bad or criminal. They all think that just because a person has been nice to them, it doesn’t matter what else they have done to anyone else. It is time for society to once again teach children to think for themselves and that they don’t have to like everyone, they just need to ignore those that they choose to not ‘agree’ with.

  • Joe

    I have a few things to say about Kenny.

    I met Kenny a few years ago. He is a troubled teen. He is a very personable guy, but what he has done is unacceptable. Unfortunetly, he is going to have to own his mistakes like a big boy. I believe he was on Parole for Theft – Car stereos, and bikes. (Apparently, he didn’t learn his lesson)

    • Lynn

      Thank you Joe for a little background. A lot of people say he should be killed, I think that is insane. Let the punishment fit the crime. Maybe a good amount of time in prison will help him enjoy the rest of his life as a human being.

  • AfroNot

    Punishment fitting the crime someone said it, tie him to the tracks do to him what he did to the cars. He could have killed a lot of people, and he obviously sees no value in other peoples lives.

  • Tom

    Handcuff good old Kenny to the steering wheel of a car and put it on the tracks

  • JayR

    yea this was my friends car, elgin illinois

  • Joe

    The last time I check grand theft auto doesn’t carry a penalty of death! lol!

    No one was killed (Thank god)

    Alttile dramatic people!?!

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