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VIDEO: Stolen Jeep is chased by police from downtown Bloomington

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BLOOMINGTON — A man suspected in a drug investigation fled downtown Bloomington at high speed in a stolen Jeep on Wednesday after colliding with a police car and later was arrested in Peoria, police said.

The crash happened about noon near Main and Jefferson streets as the Bloomington police street crimes unit was doing a drug investigation, said Bloomington police spokesman John Fermon.

"At one point there would have been several squad cars there," said Fermon. "As part of our drug investigations, our street crimes unit will pin a vehicle in to stop it from fleeing.

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A Bloomington police officer and his K-9 look for evidence after a Jeep collided with a Bloomington police car and fled Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, at the intersection of Main and Jefferson streets.

"They had him stop. He parked his car, but he ran," said Fermon."There was a short foot chase. The suspect actually ran back to the (stolen vehicle) and got back in."

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Scott Hall, owner of Hall's Painting in Bloomington, watches police officers look for evidence.

Witnesses described the suspect's vehicle as a silver Jeep with Michigan plates. Police learned it was stolen, Fermon said.

The Jeep was heading south on Main Street — a one-way, northbound street —when an officer in a police car tried to stop the Jeep by driving in front of it. The vehicles collided at Main and Jefferson, said Fermon.

The Jeep then knocked over a street sign and a trash can at the corner of Jefferson and Main streets. A vehicle nearby was damaged when the trash can was pushed into it, said Fermon.

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There were no reports of injuries.

“It was crazy,” said one witness who was walking in downtown Bloomington and witnessed the incident. “I saw a Jeep speed down the street ... and hit a bunch of (stuff)."

The suspect then drove off "at a high rate of speed through downtown," said Fermon.

 "Our officers didn't pursue the vehicle," said Fermon."It's a dangerous situation when you've got a vehicle driving recklessly through a highly populated area. You never know what to expect. If a vehicle hits a person walking it could be fatal.

"If we chase a fleeing car that's driving recklessly at high rate of speed, the potential of our community to be in that danger outweighs the gain that we would have with the drug investigation," he added.

The Jeep later was reported to be heading west on Interstate 74.

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A Bloomington police officer talks with a bystander as he looks for information after a Jeep and police car collided and the Jeep's driver sped away Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in downtown Bloomington.

"ISP (Illinois State Police) was behind (the fleeing vehicle) but didn't pursue it either just because of how recklessly it was driving," said Fermon. "I believe Peoria (Police Department) was actually able to stop him."

"A subject wanted stemming from an incident in Bloomington (was) apprehended in Peoria and turned over to Bloomington," said Peoria police public information officer Amy Dotson on Wednesday night.

Fermon said he could not provide any further details, including the suspect's name, on what charges he was arrested and whether drugs were recovered from the Jeep.

A witness told The Pantagraph that as she traveling west in the left lane on the interstate around 1 p.m. Wednesday, a silver Jeep with Michigan license plates passed her in the right lane. A squad car traveling behind the Jeep without its lights and siren on also passed her in the right lane.

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When the squad car turned on its lights at the Morton exit, the Jeep sped up and left the interstate at that exit ramp, the witness said. 


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Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

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