BY DENNIS BERGENDORF
An Illinois bowling proprietor believes his center is being harassed by government officials because of an incident in which a customer was assaulted with a bowling ball.
Josh Crespo, managing partner of Town Hall Bowl in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, says the center received 18 citations in the weeks following the Sept. 5 incident. He believes most are unfounded, and based on the type of promotion the center was hosting -- an "urban night" for entertainment promoters.
Crespo says a dispute arose between two guests, and a bouncer was holding one man down when a third man, identified as Demetrius Easton, 30, lifted a 14-lb. ball and slammed it into the victim's head, according to police reports.
The 28-year-old victim suffered a skull fracture and was in a coma for several days, but is said to be recovering. His name has not been released.
Easton was apprehended about a month later in a routine traffic stop, and charged with attempted murder. Bond was set at $500,000. Town Hall Bowl, meanwhile, is accused of selling bottled liquor without a permit, presenting live music without a permit, "having armed security guards," and other offenses.
Crespo argues that the center was doing its due due diligence for an event of that type, and did have 20 security guards in place.
"There's no question" that officials are cracking down "because of urban night," Crespo says.
The case has prompted the Illinois State Bowling Bowling proprietors Association to present a seminar titled "When Bowling Balls Become Blunt-Force Objects" at its annual fall meeting this month.