Man Faces Charges in Airport Sprint

May 30, 2007
Man facing felony charge alleging he dashed onto the runway while trying to escape officers

A Lake in the Hills man with a history of conflict with the town's police force is facing a felony charge alleging he dashed onto the runway of the village's airport last month while trying to escape officers, nearly running into the path of departing aircraft in the process.

Michael A. Bottcher, 25, is charged with criminal trespass to a restricted area, as well as a misdemeanor reckless conduct offense, in connection with the April 29 incident.

Bottcher was not injured in the incident but was hospitalized afterward, officials say. He currently is not in custody and a $20,000 warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Lake in the Hills Police Chief Dave Brey said the incident began with officers responding to a domestic disturbance at Bottcher's residence, 1507 Monroe St. When police arrived, Brey said, Bottcher fled the home and ran into the nearby Lake in the Hills Fen.

With officers giving chase, Bottcher continued toward the airport, Brey said, jumped a fence guarding it and ran onto its lone runway just as a plane was taking off.

"The officers out there estimated the plane was about 30 feet over his head," Brey said.

Brey declined comment on why Bottcher was hospitalized after the incident, but said, "he was very distraught over a family incident."

Last month's incident is not the first time Bottcher has exhibited unusual behavior relative to the Lake in the Hills Police Department.

In July 2004, he pleaded guilty to a felony criminal damage to property charge stemming from accusations he repeatedly dropped nails on the driveway to the village's police station, causing several squad cars to suffer flat tires.

He received two years probation and a suspended six-month jail sentence as part of that plea, but later had to serve the jail time because of a December 2005 arrest for throwing a rock at a parked Lake in the Hills police car while an officer sat inside.

If found guilty of the newest charges, Bottcher could be sentenced to a maximum one to three years in prison.

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