Lindetta McGlory said she never understood why her 16-year-old son would sometimes make terrible decisions.
The youngest of six siblings, Marquis Harrison was an honors student at Urban Prep Charter Academy in East Garfield Park, where he had a 3.79 grade-point average his freshman year. Last fall, he quarterbacked his football team to an undefeated conference record and earned rookie of the year honors. School administrators said they saw a bright future for him.
But Harrison also had a troubled side. At 13, while living with his father in Kane County, he twice was caught in a stolen car and placed on juvenile probation. After his father died, he moved to the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side to live with his mother and sister. He sometimes stayed out late. He liked to party.
On Sunday morning, the decisions caught up with him, according to prosecutors and police.
Police said Harrison was high on Ecstasy, marijuana and vodka when he stole a vehicle in the Old Town neighborhood and led police on a chase that ended when he crashed into a car and killed Marciea Adkins, 42, a Chicago police dispatcher on her way home from work. He was charged as an adult with first-degree murder and burglary and was ordered held Monday on $1 million bond.
“He’s always been bright, but he’s made a lot of wrong choices along the way,” McGlory said Monday during an interview in her home. “This time he did a terrible thing, and it’s going to ruin the rest of his life.”
Police officers stationed outside Adkins’ Bucktown neighborhood home Monday said the family did not wish to speak publicly about her death. Adkins’ husband, William, works as a Fire Department dispatcher for the city, and the couple have an 8-year-old daughter.
“Marciea Adkins was loved and respected by all those who knew her and was an integral member of the … police 911 dispatch team,” the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said in a statement announcing a memorial fund for the family at Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union. Anyone interested in donating can call 312-726-8814.
Authorities said Harrison had just left a party about 6 a.m. Sunday when he saw a motorist leave his idling Range Rover in the 100 block of West North Avenue to pay a parking meter.
Harrison jumped into the vehicle and sped off, prosecutors said. A police officer pulled the SUV over after seeing its driver run a red light at Blackhawk Street and Elston Avenue, but during the traffic stop, Harrison allegedly backed into the officer’s squad car and almost struck two other officers.
Police pursued Harrison through Bucktown until he ran a stoplight at Hoyne and Armitage avenues and broadsided Adkins’ vehicle, Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Costello said.
Harrison ran from the scene but was arrested a couple of blocks away, Costello said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where tests showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.186 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the prosecutor said. Test results for narcotics were still pending, he said.
The lanky teen, dressed in a maroon T-shirt and blue sweatpants, kept his head bowed as prosecutors detailed the charges.
When she spoke to her son at the police station after the crash, McGlory said, she asked him how he could have made such a bad decision. She didn’t get an answer.
“It’s a mess, that’s what it is,” McGlory said.
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