Van leads police chase from Pekin to Morton

Nathan Domenighini

*UPDATED 6 p.m. March 27

What started as a reported armed robbery in Pekin Monday night ended after a van led police on a chase into Morton.

Brian E. Pringle, 35, of Abington and Joshua Thomas, 23, of Marquette Heights, were arrested after the vehicle, driven by Pringle, finally stopped at Penn and Clifton in Morton.

Video from a Morton Police Department squad car captured the chase as it continued into Morton.

According to a press release from the Pekin Police Department, the incident began after a reported armed robbery about 6 p.m. at Beck's Oil, 317 Derby St., in Pekin. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the gas station after the attendant was held up with knife.

Within seconds of the report, officers reportedly spotted the blue mini-van driven by the suspects.

Pringle and Thomas began to speed off, prompting several law enforcement agencies to begin pursuit through Pekin.

The vehicle led police all the way to Morton, entering town east through Queenwood, then turning left on Main.

Video from the chase shows the driver ignoring several stop lights and signs as it continued to downtown Morton.

Video also showed a Tazewell County squad car nudging the van on the driver side at the corner of First and Adams. There, the vehicle stopped for several seconds.

It was then, a Morton officer exited his squad car to approach the van, the report said. Due to the camera angle, video did not show the officer approach.

According to the Morton police report, the driver continued to rev the engine as the officer approached.

Pringle then accelerated, forcing the officer to move out of the way. The van then hit a Morton police squad car.

After striking the vehicle, the suspects continued driving. After police were able to box the vehicle in at Penn and Clifton, Morton Police deputy chief Tom Daab said the driver “was helped” out of the vehicle.

As a result of the chase, one Morton squad car and two Tazewell County squad cars were damaged.

Both Pringle and Thomas were subsequently arrested and transported to the

Tazewell County Justice Center by Pekin police, the report said.

Pringle was charged with aggravated fleeing/eluding, reckless driving and driving with a revoked driver's license. He was also presented with seven traffic citations and will likely be responsible for the damage to the squad cars, Daab said.