Felony filed in biker brawl: Ottawa man charged with striking cop

OTTAWA — Ottawa’s police chief said there would be more people charged in connection with Sunday’s downtown brawl, and another has.

Police reported this morning that Shawn P. Thompson, 39, of Ottawa was charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer, a Class 2 felony with a base sentencing range of 3-7 years, plus one count of misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer. Thompson was picked up Monday on a La Salle County warrant.

He posted bond and was released. This is the fifth arrest stemming from the melee in the 100 block of West Main Street, and so far the only one charged with a felony for a crime of violence. 

‘Clubs’ and a knife

Police initially reported two felony charges for violence following the Sunday evening fight, described in open court as “a large brawl” — involving, police said later, members of the Hells Angels and Biker Outlaws — but the first two charges were filed as felonies.


4 arrested, weapons seized in violence between bikers outside downtown Ottawa bar

Violence between out-of-town motorcycle clubs ensued around dinner time Sunday just outside of JJ's Pub in downtown Ottawa.


Motorcycle club: We're in Decatur for fun, not trouble

DECATUR – Rumors that the Hell's Lovers motorcycle club is coming to Decatur are true.

But just about everything else cranking up the rumor mill is totally wrong, according to the club and the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel, where Hell's Lovers is hosting its 50th anniversary convention from today through Sunday.

Hotel general manager Donna Wickersham said she has heard fearful stories of outlaw motorcycle riders tearing up the town just as it gets ready to host the annual Decatur Celebration. Wickersham says all of those rumors are nonsense.


Fugitive Outlaws Motorcycle Club member busted for shoplifting

One of Chicago’s most wanted fugitives — Outlaws Motorcycle Club member Orville Jerome Cochran — was arrested over the weekend in a southwest suburb for shoplifting, police said Monday.

Cochran, who once worked at McCormick Place, is charged in a federal racketeering case that involves allegations of drug dealing, bombings and two murders by members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

Cochran was arrested in Evergreen Park just before 5 p.m. on Sunday.

He’s accused of stuffing a back brace into his pants at a Meijer store and walking past the check-out counter, said Capt. Peter Donovan, a spokesman for the Evergreen Park Police Department.

Cochran gave officers a phony name, but a fingerprint check revealed his identity, Donovan said.

A U.S. Marshals Service wanted poster for Orville Cochran. / U.S. Marshals Service


After decades on Division Street, Outlaws biker clubhouse sold

If the walls of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s North Side headquarters could speak, they wouldn’t dare.

The weathered, three-story, red-brick storefront at 3745 W. Division St. has been the scene of too many over-the-top parties to count, untold plotting against the rival Hells Angels and sometimes-intense law enforcement scrutiny ever since the North Side chapter was formed in the mid-1990s.

But the nondescript structure — described as a sort of Mecca to the biker underworld — recently was sold for $90,000, $9,900 less than the asking price, as the Outlaws departed Humboldt Park after more than two decades there, according to records and interviews.

The North Side crew, known as a menacing bunch, now appears to be bunking with a satellite biker group at a clubhouse in an industrial area on the Far West Side.

Jason Halvorsen, the North Side president, says: “We decided to move. It’s our own choosing.”


Ex-Outlaws biker boss speaks out, sees trouble with Hells Angels

“God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t.”

That’s the menacing motto of the Outlaws motorcycle club, formed in the Chicago area in 1935, now with chapters and thousands of members around the world.

But in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, a former Outlaws leader says the group isn’t nearly as fearsome or dominant as it used to be in Illinois.

“The times have changed,” says Peter “Big Pete” James, 62, who lives in the west suburbs. “Somehow, there’s no testosterone out there.”


Peter "Big Pete" James, former leader of the Outlaws motorcycle club leader in the Chicago area. | Provided photo

Peter "Big Pete" James, former leader of the Outlaws motorcycle club leader in the Chicago area. | Provided photo



Saturation patrol at charity event involving Hells Angels nets 6 arrests

The May 19 saturation patrol outside a Burns Harbor bar where the Hells Angels motorcycle group was participating in what the bar owner said was a charity event netted six arrests, mostly for misdemeanor charges, the Porter County Sheriff's Department said.

"I think we accomplished what we wanted to do. We wanted to show a presence, not necessarily write tickets," said Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, adding law enforcement officials decided on the best plan of attack to secure public safety. "We thought it was to be visible and be clear that we're here."

The owner of The Mill Bar & Grill, Teresa Wright, has said the May 19 "bike night" was a fundraiser for SELF School, a Valparaiso facility that provides educational services to children with disabilities, and for kids with cancer who are home-schooled.


Illinois State Police to focus on motorcycles this summer

Enforcement efforts to target license and safety violations

While motorcycle riding is fun and comes with a great deal of freedom, it can also be very dangerous and unforgiving. Illinois State Police District 20 Commander Captain Robert Elliott, is urging motorists to help prevent injuries and death caused by motorcycle crashes, they are a serious and an increasing problem. May is motorcycle awareness month. One driving fatality is one to many and drivers are reminded to “START SEEING MOTORCYCLES/LOOK TWICE” and use CAUTION around them.


Motorcycle club member gets probation and jail time

Here's an update on a Liberty motorcycle club member that pleaded guilty to mob action charges in connection with a May 2012 robbery.

According to court records, 56-year-old Zane Liggett was sentenced to 24 months probation and 120 days in the Adams County Jail.

Liggett entered a plea with the state last year in exchange for the dismissal of multiple firearms and robbery charges for the incident.

He was one of four members of the Percenters Club accused of pulling a gun on two bikers from a rival motorcycle group in Quincy.


Motorcycle club member gets five years in prison for role in armed robbery

A Barry man has been sent to prison for his role in a 2012 armed robbery in downtown Quincy.

Gerald R. Utterback, 45, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Adams County Circuit Judge William Mays.

In January, a jury found Utterback guilty of aggravated robbery, robbery and theft of a person for a May 20, 2012, incident at the intersection of 12th and Hampshire. Utterback was found not guilty of the most serious charge, armed robbery, for which he could have been sent to prison for up to 15 years. Mays' sentence was one year over the minimum allowed by law.

According to court documents, Utterback was one of four members of the Midwest Percenters motorcycle club who surrounded members of the Tunnel Rats motorcycle club and stole their vests during the incident.