DANVERS — A man suspected of stealing at least two trucks, including one in Argenta, and fleeing from police has been captured in Danvers, police said Wednesday.
Chad J. Matheson was arrested by McLean County Sheriff's deputies and Danvers Police around 12:30 p.m.
Matheson, 42, of Sullivan pleaded guilty to a forgery charge in Moultrie County on Sept. 7 and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was scheduled to begin his term on Sept. 25, but court records indicate he filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on Sept. 22.
A spokesman for the McLean County Sheriff's Office said the stolen vehicle was located in Danvers at a bar. Matheson attempted to flee but struck a Danvers police car. He was checked by medical personnel and then transported to the McLean County jail.
A photo shows the crash took place near the intersection of Sherman and Exchange streets, about two blocks west of the downtown area.
"The man ate a cheeseburger lunch without incident and left a $2 tip," said Angie Siscoe, manager at the Vault Bar & Grill in downtown Danvers. She said nothing happened inside the business.
Outside was another story.
Bo Dannenberger, who lives adjacent to the Vault, said he saw a man outside the tavern bolt when he spotted police and fled west in a truck.
Law enforcement officials from throughout Central Illinois had been searching for Matheson since Tuesday morning, when he was accused of stealing a truck and fleeing from police. Prior to his arrest in Danvers, he was last seen Tuesday evening in LeRoy.
At 8:21 a.m. Tuesday, the Piatt County Sheriff’s Office was notified by Macon County that a gray 2015 Ford F-250 truck had been stolen from the Casey’s General Store in Argenta in Macon County.
About 10 a.m., Piatt County deputies were notified of a high-speed pursuit in DeWitt County on Illinois 54 near Farmer City, involving the stolen vehicle. DeWitt County cut the pursuit off because of safety concerns.
Fifteen minutes later, Piatt County received information from Macon County that the owner of the stolen truck was able to provide authorities with a way to track the truck's location using GPS.
The Macon County Sheriff’s Office relayed that the vehicle was located on the west side of Galesville in Piatt County. Deputies arrived on the scene and located the Ford F-250 truck with the driver door ajar and the engine running.
A deputy familiar with the property, knew that there was normally a dark blue 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck parked in front of the shed, but it was not there. Deputies contacted the property owner, who confirmed that his 2006 Toyota Tacoma truck had been stolen.
Police say that at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Matheson was seen in LeRoy at the True Value Hardware Store. He had changed license plates on the truck and was hauling a stolen trailer from Bloomington, police said. The trailer was located south of LeRoy in DeWitt County, where he apparently left it.
Former Pantagraph reporter Sharon Wolfe contributed to this article.