Police said man fought with a deputy before fleeing a traffic stop
A Streator man and a woman were arrested Monday after they fled police during a traffic stop and were apprehended hours later following a search that involved several agencies, including aircraft.
At 1:03 a.m. Monday, a La Salle County deputy stopped Leroy E. Persinger on North 17th Road — just north of Streator — after a deputy observed the vehicle he was driving matched the description of a stolen vehicle and clocked Persinger going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.
The deputy advised Pesinger, who was wanted on a warrant for burglary, attempted theft and criminal damage to property, that he was under arrest. A deputy said a woman passenger was with him in the vehicle holding a small safe on her lap.
As the deputy was conducting a pat down of Persinger, the suspect began to resist and fought with the deputy and both went to the ground, according to a press release issued by Sheriff Tom Templeton.
During the fight with the deputy, Persinger repeatedly told the woman to "get him." The passenger began to approach the deputy and reached her hand into her waist band, Templeton said.
At this time Persinger pushed away from the deputy and both Persinger and the passenger fled into a nearby cornfield.
The deputy radioed for assistance and responding units began to set up a perimeter around the area of the cornfield. The deputy was told by La Salle County dispatch the license plates of the car were reported stolen from Streator and the vehicle had been stolen from Ottawa.
Several hours later, a La Salle County deputy securing the area observed a large door at the Designs and Signs building start to go up and a truck belonging to Designs and Signs pulled out of the building. The deputy followed the truck and the truck turned onto another road and stopped in the middle where a man and a woman jumped out of the truck and ran into a cornfield. Upon checking the building, it was discovered a door on the south side of the building had been broken into allowing access to the trucks inside the building.
At this time, the search was centered on the field where the two had run. The search was aided by an Illinois State Police aircarft as well as deputies from the sheriff's office, police officers from Streator, Marseilles and Gride Ridge, Illinois Conservation Police, state troopers and K-9 units. Throughout the morning, there were various sightings of the two fugitives, Templeton said.
As the search continued, information was received from citizens of a sighting of the two fugitives in the area of the original traffic stop. Several police personnel as well as K-9s were in the area and Persinger was spotted in a bean field running north from North 17th Road. He was taken into custody at that time.
The woman he was with was located a short time later and detained for further investigation. Her name has not been released at this time since the matter still is under investigation.
"This situation illustrates the danger law enforcement officers face as they go about their duties every day," Templeton said in a press statement. "This situation also is indicative of the partnership shared by the law enforcement officers as several agencies assisted in this manhunt."
The La Salle County State's Attorney's office is reviewing the information provided and additional charges are pending after their review.