LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — James Purifoy, 48, the owner of Rockford burger restaurant 15th & Chris, faces felony charges for leading police on a high-speed pursuit due to driving an uninsured vehicle on a suspended license.
According to court records, a Loves Park Police officer spotted a white Chevrolet pickup with a suspended Illinois registration headed eastbound on Riverside, near Cliffbreakers, around 9:52 p.m. on Thursday, April 13th.
When the officer attempted to stop the truck near the intersection at Forest Hills Road, the driver accelerated to 68 mph in a 40 mph zone, police said.
Police tracked the truck’s registration to Purifoy’s wife. Officers went to the couple’s residence on Denbury Drive and reportedly found him hiding in the garage next to a vehicle occupied by his wife.
According to police, Purifoy’s wife said she had just returned home and he had been home at the time.
The Chevrolet pickup was located parked in front of a residence on Fireside, one street over, police said.
According to authorities, a K9 tracked Purifoy’s trail from the truck, through his neighbor’s backyards, to his residence on Denbury.
Purifoy was arrested and charged with felony Aggravated Fleeing From Police and cited for driving on a suspended license, operating a vehicle with suspended registration, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
Purifoy recently suffered third-degree burns in a fire at his burger restaurant, located at the intersection of 15th Street and Christina Avenue in Rockford.
The site of a former ice cream parlor, 15th and Chris was opened by Purifoy in 2018. The business expanded to include a mobile food truck.
On the night of Sunday, January 22nd, the business was damaged in a fire.
Investigators determined arson was the cause of the fire.
Fire officials say nobody was inside the building when they arrived, and no injuries were reported while extinguishing the blaze.
According to Purifoy’s attorney, Elder Granger II, who held a press conference on January 25th, the family had been receiving threats for more than a week leading up to the fire. Those behind the threats were demanding money, Grainger said, adding that Purifoy reported the incidents to the police.
Granger said Purifoy was attacked by three men while he worked in his food truck on the night of the fire. He claimed that Purifoy was left unconscious in the truck while the men set fire to the business.
According to Granger, Purifoy woke up and drove away from the scene. A police officer pulled him over and took him to a hospital.
Purifoy has since bonded out of jail following his April 13th arrest.
A planned fundraiser for Purifoy at Kegel Harley-Davidson on Saturday, April 22nd has been canceled. The event coordinator says they will be in touch with people who have donated items already.