If Rockie Douglas’ probation agents in Wisconsin had known he’d been charged with several crimes in Illinois, he might have been in prison Dec. 21. Instead, authorities allege, he fled police in a stolen car that barreled into an SUV in Chicago, killing an 11-year-old boy, the Chicago Tribune reports. Douglas was free that day after years of lying to probation agents and sliding through gaps in monitoring and communication between authorities in Wisconsin and Illinois. Wisconsin probation officials say Illinois authorities didn’t alert them to Douglas’ arrests, and his probation agents didn’t learn of them on their own. Some Illinois officials didn’t know Douglas was on probation in Wisconsin.
The Tribune has shown that Cook County has failed to monitor dangerous convicts, and the county Adult Probation Department’s chief was removed this month. The problem isn’t strictly with offenders in Cook County. Douglas’ recent past shows the risk posed by convicts supervised outside Illinois who travel between states. In the six years Douglas spent on probation before the fatal crash, Wisconsin probation agents didn’t find out he was convicted of felony theft in Cook County, spent four months in the county’s residential boot camp program, did a month on house arrest, and was arrested again. In October, Douglas, 34, was jailed in Wisconsin after his agent heard he’d relapsed on crack cocaine. In early November, probation officials — unaware of the recent criminal history of the man they supervised — didn’t seek to revoke his probation. He walked free. Weeks later, authorities were scrambling to arrest him during what they allege was a multistate spree of carjackings, robberies and dangerous flights from police