HEYWORTH — A police chase involving a kidnapping suspect from Chicago ended peacefully late Friday near Heyworth after police used pepper spray to coax the man from his semi truck.
The kidnapping victim was not with the truck driver or at the scene. That person's status was not available Saturday; police did not release the name of the suspect.
Illinois State Police said Route 51 reopened shortly before midnight Friday. Police had been called about 7:30 p.m. to help with a traffic stop involving a task force from the Chicago area, according to a statement issued Saturday by state police.
The task force had been pursuing a semi truck with the suspect behind the wheel, the statement said. When the driver tried “to elude the task force officers,” his truck went off the road near the intersection of Route 51 and County Road 100 North, just south of Heyworth, where the vehicle became stuck.
Police closed the area after the driver refused to get out of the truck. The state police SWAT team, crisis negotiator and an armored vehicle from Decatur Police Department were called to the scene, along with McLean County Sheriff's police, Randolph Fire Protection District from Heyworth and Bloomington Township Fire Protection District.
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The truck's tires caught fire after the driver tried to get out of the ditch, burning them in the process, Captain Gregg Cavanaugh said.
After hours of negotiation attempts, state police SWAT officers forced their way into the truck and “deployed chemical agents ... at which time the subject surrendered to law enforcement personnel,” the state police statement said.
“With his vehicle being stopped and it would not start, it makes it easier for us because there’s not a pursuit involved,” state police Captain Louis Kink told WEEK TV. “Our main concern after not hearing from him after a couple of hours was to make sure he’s still all right. So we busted a window and put pepper spray in there and that’s when we heard from him.”
Once in custody, the suspect received medical attention and was decontaminated from the spray, Cavanaugh said.