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Local News

Judge unseals Plainfield street racing cases

Paul R. Powell
Paul R. Powell

Several court records have been unsealed in a case where at least four men were arrested and charged with street racing in Will County.

Paul R. Powell, 35, Timothy J. Hagan, 47, Joseph N. Lukas, 36, and Steven J. Fredenhagen, 41, were all charged with street racing on Nov. 28. Plainfield police said they have been working with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate alleged criminal activity related to “dangerous operation of motor vehicles” discovered on social media.

Arrest warrants were issued for three more people. Police have said the street racing investigation remains active and anyone with information should contact them.

At least seven records in the case were unsealed on Dec. 5, about six days after Powell and Hagan were arrested and jailed.

Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said the cases were sealed pending an investigation, although all four suspects in the cases unsealed last week were apprehended by Dec. 3.

On Nov. 28, Will County Judge Daniel Rippy signed off on the arrest warrants for Powell, Hagan, Lukas and Fredenhagen. Rippy also signed a court order the same day sealing the records from public view. Three cases against Powell remain sealed as of Monday afternoon.

“The court finds that this arrest warrant contains information regarding an ongoing criminal investigation,” according to the order.

Powell has been charged as a co-defendant in all the cases unsealed thus far except for one where he is charged with endangering the life and health of a child. A criminal complaint alleges that on Oct. 12, Powell drove a Dodge Ram Rebel on Book Road in Plainfield toward a minor while the minor recorded him on video.

The other criminal complaints allege that Powell and Hagan were street racing on Sept. 30 on Interstate 355 in Lemont. Powell and Fredenhagen allegedly were street racing on Sept. 12, 2017, on Route 30 in Plainfield and on I-355. Powell and Lukas allegedly raced on Nov. 8 on Book Road in Plainfield.

After Powell’s arrest, he was taken to the Will County jail on a $400,000 bond, a high amount for a series of misdemeanors. Hagan’s bond was set at $50,000 while Lukas and Fredenhagen had $2,500 bonds.

Powell’s bond later was lowered to $150,000 and he posted bail on Dec. 4. Cheney said the state’s attorney’s office opposed the bond being lowered “for reasons stated in court.”

Powell is the owner of YouTube channel FamilyCruisin, which has more than 64,000 subscribers and 9.9 million views. He has since taken down videos from the channel on the advice of his attorney, Joseph Serpico, according to Powell’s GoFundMe page.

The star of Powell’s channel was his Dodge Challenger Hellcat until it apparently caught on fire because of a mechanical failure on July 31 on Book Road. The Hellcat’s license plate said “Don’t pet,” according to the Plainfield Fire Protection District’s report on the incident.

In many of Powell’s videos, he’s driving the Hellcat, racing other drivers or talking about cars. Paul S. Powell, his father, said an Uber video was staged.

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