Police officers in Greene County spent the first day of 2014 chasing a man who allegedly took a municipal salt truck for a joy ride.
According to White Hall Police Chief Jack Wallis, police got a call around 6:45 this morning that a salt spreader was found in the middle of the street about five blocks from the city garage. Wallis says when officers went to the garage, they discovered a second truck was missing.
The building had been broken into and vandalized. Wallis says marking paint was sprayed on the truck found nearby, on the doors of the building and elsewhere in the structure.
Wallis says while officials were assessing the situation, they got a call from the mayor of the village of Patterson, who informed them a flatbed salt truck matching the description of the missing city vehicle had just gone through Patterson at a high rate of speed.
Police units from White Hall, Roodhouse, the Illinois State Police and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office converged on Patterson before 8:00.
Wallis says a Roodhouse police officer spotted 25-year-old Shane Seymoure of rural Roodhouse first.
“We all tried to get him cut off but he got through and kept going,” says Wallis. “He ended up getting all they way to Alsey. He finally bailed out of the truck at and left it, but at that time we all had him pretty well surrounded. He ran off into a field and into a piece of woods. We had it pretty well sealed off waiting for a dog to come. We ended up seeing him in the field, so we drove out into the field. We caught up, he put his hands up, we put him on the ground and placed him in custody.”
The chase ended on Friendship Road in Alsey, according to Wallis, who says Seymoure was not armed. It lasted about seven or eight miles, with Wallis claiming Seymoure had gone as fast as 70 to 80 miles per hour.
“You could see out there when we were pursuing that he had been all over the fields doing donuts and at every curve it looked like he just hot-rodded the truck all over the place,” says Wallis. “You could see where he was spinning with those wheels all over the whole country side in that area.”
Amazingly, no one was injured throughout this entire ordeal, but the Roodhouse police car that first spotted Seymoure chased him down one dirt road near Patterson and crashed. That was the only other vehicle damaged.
Wallis says alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.
He says Seymoure had stolen items from the White Hall salt truck garage in his possession when he was arrested. The truck was full of salt when it was stolen.
Wallis says the city is pursuing charges of criminal damage to state-supported property, theft and burglary. He estimates Seymoure took between $50 and $75 out of the shed.
Wallis says the garage had a “considerable” amount of damage, and the truck was “damaged beyond repair”. He doesn’t think Seymoure hit anything while driving it. Wallis estimates between $10,000 and $20,000 of damage was caused. That’s not including the damage to the Roodhouse police car.