By RICK HAYES
INA — — Ina's Police Department was expected to be up and running again today after receiving a loaner vehicle from the Ewing Police Department.
Jordan Spetter, Chief of the Ewing Police Department, is also a part time officer for the Ina Police Department. The Ewing department has two vehicles, and has given permission for the Ina department to use their 2004 Chevrolet Impala. Ina received the car on Thursday morning, but due to some electronic problems, was taken back to a Ewing garage in the afternoon for repairs.
"I think we'll be up and running later tonight (Thursday), or no later than Friday," Ina Chief of Police Travis Allen said. "The car had a wiring problem of some kind. I drove it around town for awhile this morning, turned it off, and then it wouldn't start. I think it's a fuse or relay."
He continued, "We appreciate Jordan letting us use one of their vehicles. We've worked closely with the Ewing department. They've let us use some of their personnel for drug busts, and things like that, in the communities we serve."
Ina's department was left without any vehicles after a pair of incidents — beginning Friday night in Mt. Vernon — and continuing on Tuesday evening on Interstate 57 when the department's only cruiser was struck in the rear by a semi.
The ironic events for the department actually began several weeks earlier when one of the department's squad cars was involved in a car-deer accident. The department had just got the cruiser back a few days when it was involved in an accident with an ambulance Friday night at the entrance to Good Samaritan Regional Health Center. That left the department with one car, driven primarily by Allen. When he left work Tuesday night, he told the officer in charge to cruise in the villages of Bonnie and Ina, helping citizens who may experience trouble on the snow-covered roadways. Allen said he hadn't been gone 15 minutes when he got the call the department's only vehicle had been involved in the accident on the interstate. Ina PD had been requested by Illinois State Police to provide traffic control for an overturned semi.
"I feel like I've aged 10 years this week," said Allen. "It's been a rough week."
The car involved in the ambulance incident on Friday was a 2013 Ford Interceptor. Preliminary damage estimates have ranged from $12,000 to $15,000. Allen's car, a 2008 Crown Victoria, had approximately 40,000 miles on it when it was struck earlier this week on the interstate.
Both vehicles are at Broadway Auto Body in Mt. Vernon. Allen said the department has been deluged with calls from area car dealers, wanting to sell the department Crown Victorias, although village officials would like to keep one or both of the damaged vehicles, depending on insurance estimates.