Township Road

Photo by Carla Waters

Photo by Carla Waters

A Watseka fire engine makes its way down Township Road 165 Friday afternoon as police pursued a man who was wanted for stealing a vehicle in Hoopeston. Police say the man jumped into the Iroquois River to elude authorities before he was arrested and taken to the hospital.

A Rossville man is in custody after leading police on a car chase and jumping in to the river in what police say was an escape attempt.

According to Iroquois County Sheriff’s Police reports, Jeremiah Smith, 39, of Rossville, was arrested Feb. 14 following a vehicle pursuit that started inside the city limits of Watseka.

The pursuit began after Iroquois County authorities were notified by Hoopeston Police that Smith had stolen a 2007 Pontiac. Deputies located the vehicle in question driving north on Route 1 towards Watseka.

The pursuit continued after Smith drove the stolen vehicle onto Township Road 165 northeast of Watseka and crashed the vehicle.

According to the report, Smith then fled the vehicle and jumped into the Iroquois River in an attempt to evade authorities. He was eventually pulled out of the river by officers and taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital.

Smith is charged with unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing and eluding and felony driving while license revoked.

Iroquois County Sheriff’s deputies were assisted on scene by Watseka Police and Illinois State Police.