Chapin Police Chief Released from Hospital

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 14, 2022 at 3:24pm

From left to right: Meredosia Police Officer (and Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy) Steve Lowry, Chapin Chief of Police Steve Helmich, Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Skyler Lambeth, and Meredosia Police Chief (and Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy) Rusty Richard. Photo provide by Chapin Police Department

A West Central Illinois Chief of Police who was shot in the line of duty last month has been released from the hospital.

According to a press release by the Village of Chapin, 39-year-old Chapin Chief of Police Steven Helmich, of Jacksonville was released from Memorial Medical Center this morning. Helmich was shot in March following a multi-county, multi-agency vehicle pursuit.

Meredosia Police conducted a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup truck driven by 29-year-old Daniel B. Payne, of Greenbrier, Tennessee at approximately 10:34 pm on Saturday, March 26th. Payne fled from the Meredosia officer, who then requested assistance from Chapin Police, and Chief Helmich responded.

Officers from the Meredosia and Chapin Police Departments, as well as Pike County and Brown County Sheriff’s Offices, were led on a high-speed pursuit through Morgan, Pike, and Brown Counties by Payne who eventually crashed his truck on Illinois Highway 107 in rural Brown County.

Payne then opened fire on officers, striking Chief Helmich in his abdomen and his upper left thigh. According to the report, officers returned fire and took Payne into custody. Officers on scene rendered emergency, life-saving aid to Chief Helmich

According to the report, Chief Helmich was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield in critical condition, where he underwent three emergency surgeries in the days following the shooting. After 19 days of hospitalization, Chief Helmich was discharged from the hospital around 11:00 this morning.

Helmich will continue to require medical care over the next several months from the Memorial Health System in Springfield and Jacksonville. He will be assisted by Chapin Police Sergeant Brad Rogers in managing the Police Department over the next several months.

Payne faces pending charges in Brown County of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, a Class X felony. He remains held at the Schuyler County Jail on a $1 million bond. The incident remains an ongoing investigation being conducted by Illinois State Police Zone 4 Investigators and the Brown County State’s Attorney’s Office.