DECATUR — A bizarre slow-speed police pursuit through Decatur on Tuesday afternoon ended after nearly two hours, with officers having to use a stun gun on the driver before he could be arrested, according to a news release from the Macon County Sheriff's Office.
In the release, Lt. Jamie Belcher said the male driver, who was finally stopped in the 600 block of East Wood Street after police punctured his car tires, was escorted to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation.
He was also booked on preliminary charges of driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated driving under the influence of drugs, felony driving while license revoked and various other traffic offenses. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the state’s attorney’s office.
Belcher said the incident unfolded about noon when a sheriff’s deputy stopped the driver’s car on Illinois 121 near Park Road, northwest of Decatur. Belcher said the man told the deputy he had someone in the trunk of the car, which wasn’t true, and made other odd statements before saying he had to leave and driving off.
With the deputy now in pursuit, the man headed north into Warrensburg and then drove toward Decatur where the chase was joined by members of the Decatur Police Street Crimes Unit. Belcher said the pursuit was so slow at certain points that pursuing officers were able to hold conversations with the driver, who repeatedly refused to pull over.
“In those conversations, the driver made indications to officers that he was armed and he was willing to inflict harm to himself or force officers to shoot him before being arrested,” Belcher said. “At one point, the driver threw a knife out of the vehicle that was recovered by officers.”
Police attempted to deploy “spike strips” to disable the vehicle by puncturing its tires, but Belcher said the driver drove off the roadway through yards to avoid them.
“At approximately 1:55 p.m., officers with Decatur Police Department were able to successfully deploy spike strips on the vehicle in the 600 block of East Wood Street,” Belcher said. “The suspect continued to drive the disabled vehicle until coming to a stop in a parking lot at the corner of East Wood and South Jasper streets.”
Stun guns were used when the driver still refused to comply with orders during his arrest, Belcher said.