A Greene County man is behind bars in Jersey County after a high speed chase damaged the Joe Page Bridge in Hardin.
According to the Tri-County Scanner Page, Grafton Police attempted a traffic stop on a late-model red Mustang Convertible near Pere Marquette State Park at approximately 9:20 Saturday night. The vehicle sped off on Illinois Route 100 northwest towards Calhoun County.
Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Heffington says that he was monitoring calls on other emergency channels while watching the Kampsville Celebration wind down: “I was scanning another police agency where they were in pursuit with a guy armed with a knife and possibly had held people under restraints with that knife. When I heard the chase come in off of Illinois Route 3 into Grafton heading northbound at a high rate of speed by Pere Marquette Park, I got ahold of my guys and let them know there was a fleeing vehicle from police officers coming up Route 100. We decided to head to the bridge. We notified the bridge that they could put the gates down for us so they could catch this guy. We had one officer on the east side of the bridge waiting, and I and the chief deputy was set on the west side bridge where we had spike strips and I was sideways on the bridge and got everybody off the bridge because the gates were down. We didn’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”
Heffington says a short time later after he had cleared the bridge that he could hear the suspect’s vehicle crash the gates on the bridge. The suspect then attempted to side-swipe his vehicle once it came off the bridge to turn northbound out of Hardin. Heffington said he doesn’t know how he avoided being t-boned off the bridge at that rate of speed, and considers himself lucky. Heffington says he then notified the North Calhoun Fire Protection District to help stop the vehicle just about 2 miles south of Kampsville: “I thought he had me, but somehow he missed. I don’t know, I was very lucky. He got sideways and went bouncing sideways. I followed him while he was bouncing sideways as he headed back north. I called ahead to the North Calhoun Fire Department. Those guys did an excellent job. They got the big fire trucks there by the American Legion building coming into the south village limits [in Kampsville], and got the road blocked off. I told them that if this guy goes through Kampsville at 75-80 miles an hour, there’s going to be people and kids getting killed, because their festivities for their annual celebration was winding down. The fire department just got their vehicles lined up and this guy was coming on, running without lights on, and the driver decided not to hit the fire trucks and went off road through a right-of-way road and an embankment. I stayed right with him. He lost control and went into a neighbor’s yard just north of the American Legion and crashed into a utility shed, which was on blocks. He knocked it about 10 feet before coming to a stop.”
Heffington says he placed his front brush guard alongside the driver’s side to keep the driver from escaping the vehicle and took the suspect, who was alone in the vehicle, into custody. Reported speeds in the chase reached over 110 miles an hour at certain points. Some witnesses say that the driver discarded objects from the car during the chase in and around the Nutwood area along Illinois Route 100.
40 year old Christopher N. Raines of White Hall was then taken into custody and determined to need medical attention. Calhoun EMS transported Raines to Boyd Memorial Hospital in Carrollton for non-life threatening injuries. Raines was later released and taken to the Jersey County Jail. Heffington says that Raines had outstanding warrants in St. Louis County, Missouri for theft and burglary and an outstanding warrant in Madison County for drug charges. Raines has now been charged with two citations of aggravated fleeing and eluding police, criminal damage to state supported property, possession of methamphetamine less than 5 grams, possession of a controlled substance purported fetanyl, illegal use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of hypodermic needles. Heffington says more charges may be pending. Raines is being held on $100,000 bond at the Jersey County Jail.
The Joe Page Bridge in Calhoun County remains closed at this time pending repair of the bridge’s arms. Riverbender says that inspections and new permits would also be part of making the bridge accessible to Calhoun residents again. For now, residents will have to exit the county eastbound via ferries in Brussels and Kampsville until access is restored.
UPDATE 2PM Monday, August 16: The Joe Page Bridge has been reopened to traffic.