MT. VERNON — Police were led on a high speed chase Friday across Jefferson County which ended with a stolen vehicle in flames in a field.
The unidentified suspect was reportedly taken into custody about 4:30 p.m. by the Centralia Fire Department at a residence on East Baseline Road, according to radio reports.
The suspect fled the vehicle in the area of North Gilead Church Lane, north of the Dix-Irvington Road and east of Illinois Highway 51.
K-9 units from the Mt. Vernon Police Department were called to the area to look for the suspect. Centralia Police Department and Illinois State Police were assisting the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in the investigation, according to Sheriff Roger Mulch.
“He has been spotted in the area,” the sheriff said about 3 p.m., adding, “The incident happened a short time ago so everything is kind of crazy out there.”
The suspect was described as a white male, about 5-feet, 4-inches tall with short blonde hair. He was reportedly in his late teens or early 20s and was wearing a black T-shirt. Police were able to get a description of the suspect as a result of a visit he made to a Mt. Vernon business equipped with video surveillance.
It is believed the suspect stole the vehicle from a farm in the Bonnie area. It was not immediately known whether the vehicle caught on fire in the field as a result of an accident or if it was intentionally set to destroy evidence.
The chase began in Mt. Vernon around 1 p.m. City and county police were chasing the suspect in the westbound lanes of Veterans Memorial Drive. The suspect then turned onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 57, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph, according to radio traffic.
The vehicle got off the interstate at the Dix interchange and was traveling westbound on the Dix-Irvington blacktop before traveling on Tank Lane and then North Gilead Church Lane. The vehicle was reportedly 1 ½ miles off the roadway when it burst into flames.