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Bill Jones, Managing Editor
11:49 am CDT October 2, 2019

Area police reportedly pursued a stolen vehicle and its driver, who eventually fled and escaped on foot, the evening of Oct. 1 along the Interstate 80 corridor.

The incident started around 9 p.m., when someone stole a Chevrolet Impala from Route 66 Food N Fuel near Chicago Street and Laraway Road in Joliet, according to Kathy Hoffmeyer, of the Public Affairs Division for the Sheriff’s Office.

Will County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly spotted the car on Chicago Street and followed it onto eastbound Interstate 80. Deputies activated the lights on the squad car and the Impala initially pulled over near the Route 30 exit, Hoffmeyer said.

“As our deputies were approaching, the Impala took off,” she explained.

Area agencies — including Orland Park, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox and Illinois State Police — also responded, Hoffmeyer said. And police reportedly positioned themselves near the LaGrange Road exit.

But the driver of the Impala — described by police as a black male, wearing a red T-shirt and khaki shorts — reportedly struck an SUV being towed near the exit, got out of the vehicle and fled on foot toward 187th Street, Hoffmeyer explained. The two occupants of the other vehicle did not report any injuries, Hoffmeyer added.

Police reportedly began searching the area for the man, with nearby properties, several trailers and brush along the highway included in the search. But police were unable to locate the man, and the search was eventually called off with no one apprehended or arrested, Hoffmeyer said.

Hoffmeyer added Will County deputies used a K-9 unit to track the driver but his scent was lost in the brush.

Orland Park Police Cmdr. Eric Rossi said his department was asked to assist Will County in an attempt to locate someone who fled a stolen car near Interstate 80 and LaGrange Road. Rossi said Orland Park sent two officers and a drone to assist, but he did not have any further information to provide regarding the incident.

Mokena Police Chief Steve Vaccaro said that Mokena police “acted in a support capacity,” but referred additional questions to Will County. Illinois State Police Trooper DeAnn Falat said she did not have any information available on the incident.

Additional reporting by Contributing Editor T.J. Kremer III.