By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON —
An Ames, Iowa, man was taken into custody shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday in Nashville, following two carjackings in Mt. Vernon earlier in the day.
David John Pederson, 55, was brought back to Mt. Vernon by detectives of the Mt. Vernon Police Department around 5:30 p.m., and faces numerous charges in connection with the carjackings.
According to Chief of Police Chris Mendenall, the first carjacking took place around 2 p.m. at the McDonald's restaurant on Potomac Boulevard. An employee of the restaurant had been eating outside the restaurant when she was approached by Pederson, who at gunpoint, ordered the woman to her car — a four-door Oldsmobile Alero.
Pederson ordered the woman to drive to the B.P. service station at Illinois 15 and 44th Street, where he robbed her, pepper-sprayed her, and then ordered her to exit the vehicle. At that point, Pederson then carjacked a maroon Mercury Estate van, occupied by a woman and her two sons. The victim told police that Pederson displayed a black semiautomatic handgun.
The vehicle then headed west and turned on Wells Bypass Road, where the woman and her two children were freed by Pederson at the NAPA Distribution Center. The south portion of Wells Bypass Road remains closed due to a bridge construction project.
Pederson then traveled back north to either Illinois 15 or Interstate 57 — police were still trying to determine at deadline his mode of travel from Wells Bypass Road. However, police know Pederson then traveled west. Police broadcast an ISPERN message to let other law enforcement know the suspect's whereabouts and squad cars were dispatched to both the Marion and Washington counties line.
Police described the suspect in radio traffic as a short, bald, older white male with a long white beard.
Pederson was captured by Nashville (Illinois) Police at a Circle K service station in that city.
Detectives of the Mt. Vernon Police Department said that Pederson may be on furlough from the Marion federal prison, although they confirmed he did not escape.
Police were questioning the suspect late Tuesday afternoon, and State's Attorney Doug Hoffman is expected to review the case today for possible charges.